Council clears way for judicial review hearing

    Solihull Council has agreed to concede the permission stage of
    an appeal for judicial review by three residents of Lyndon Croft
    Residential Home who are campaigning against the home’s closure,
    writes Lauren Revans.

    The council decided in March to close the home, stating that it
    could not be refurbished to meet new national minimum standards
    bought in under the Care Standards Act 2000 while the residents
    were still living there, and would cost “virtually as much” to
    extend and refurbish as it would to rebuild from scratch.

    They have offered the home’s 29 residents the choice of moving
    to temporary or permanent placements while the work is carried out.
    Twenty-five residents have accepted one option or the other. Four
    have yet to say.

    The council agreed not to challenge the residents’ application
    for judicial review of the decision to close the home in an effort
    to speed up proceedings.

    “Everyone is agreed that the sooner we can get this matter
    before the court the better,” said social services director Michael

    “We still believe that closure of the home is best for the
    welfare of the residents given that the home has to close for
    rebuilding anyway,” he said. “We have got a local authority home
    that from what we can see does not meet our local registration
    standards – and our local standard are not dissimilar to national
    standards. We could not meet the standards by 2007 without
    virtually moving every wall in the home.”

    However, the residents bringing the action against the home
    believe the council has misconstrued the new requirements that will
    be imposed by Care Standards Act and that closure would be a breach
    of their right to private family life.

    They also argue that it would be in breach of a promise in the
    home’s brochure of “a home for as long as we are able to meet your
    needs and as long as you want to be with us”.

    The judicial review hearing is now expected to be heard in late
    September or early October.

    Elsewhere in the country, eight residents of the Granby Way home
    in Plymouth are still awaiting the outcome of their judicial review
    hearing against Plymouth Council’s decision to close their home.
    High Court judge Mr Justice Scott Baker reserved judgement on the
    case after the three day hearing in July warning that “it might be
    some time”.

    In a separate case in June, 89-year old Flossie Hands applied
    for a judicial review against Birmingham Council’s decision to
    transfer Florence Hammond House to the private sector. Her
    application failed due to insufficient proof that privatisation
    would necessarily lead to closure (News, page 4, 28 June).

    However, Mr Justice Harrison went on to suggest that once a
    contract had been drawn up between the council and a private
    company there could be grounds for the case returning to the High
    Court if the agreement would result in closure.





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