Residents challenge homes closure plans

Councils’ decisions to close or privatise residential care homes
were challenged in two cases at the high court last week by older
residents using human rights legislation.

Eight residents of the Granby Way residential home in Plymouth
won the first round of a battle to keep their home open when Mr
Justice Harrison declared their complaints about the home’s closure
“arguable”, opening the way for a full judicial review.

The residents said that Plymouth Council’s February decision to
close down the home breached their rights under the European
Convention of Human Rights, and that the trauma of moving could
ultimately result in their deaths.

The council argued that the decision was made in the light of “a
severe budget overspend” and that everything possible was being
done to “minimise the disruption and anxiety for the residents”.
Justice Harrison ordered that a full hearing should take place
before the end of July.

In a second case a Birmingham resident failed to secure a review
of a council decision that she claimed could lead to the closure of
her residential care home and was a breach of the Human Rights Act

Flossie Hands, 89, a resident of Florence Hammond House in
Birmingham, had applied for permission to seek a judicial review of
the council’s December decision to transfer its 30 residential care
homes for older people to an independent trust (News, page 2, 22

Barrister Martin Westgate told the court that the transfer would
make the home vulnerable to closure because it did not currently
comply with the registration standards being bought in under the
Care Standards Act 2000 and would require a substantial injection
of capital.

But Justice Harrison dismissed the review application, rejecting
claims that the council had failed to adequately consult or explore
alternatives and ruling that there was insufficient proof that
privatisation would lead to closure.

But he expressed sympathy for Hands’ predicament and suggested
that the case could return to the high court if the agreement
between the council and the company resulted in the home’s

Meanwhile residents of Lyndon Croft residential home in Solihull
also believe their human rights are being infringed by a decision
to close their home by the end of August. Solihull Council believes
the home will not meet the new minimum care home standards which
were officially launched in March.



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