Court backs Wandsworth over failure to house man

The high court ruled this week that Wandsworth Council does not
have to provide immediate housing for a homeless man who poses a
serious risk to the public.

Acknowledging the difficulties faced by councils in such
situations, Mr Justice Sullivan said Clifford Fentiman’s violent
past and mental health problems made him a particularly difficult
person for the London council to place.

“The council has not simply sat back and failed to try and find
accom-modation,” he said. “It has looked, and looked hard.”

He concluded that the council had done its best to comply with
its duty to provide secure accom-modation for Fentiman but was
“faced with a very difficult problem”.

He added that it would be irresponsible of the council to put
Fentiman in unsupervised accom-modation given that he posed a
public danger.

Fentiman, who has been diagnosed with a personality disorder,
left Springfield Hospital in south London in July after six months
as a voluntary in-patient and has since sought interim
accommodation while a decision is made on his housing

But hostel and emergency bed and breakfast accommodation were
deemed unsuitable, and specialist hostels had refused him.

A council spokesperson said: “We are pleased that the judge has
recognised the immense difficulties local authorities face in
finding suitable accommodation in a complex and difficult cases
like this.

He added that the council would continue to look for suitable
accommodation but would “not place him somewhere that is not safe
for other people”.

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.