Parent Wins Right To Argue For Court Review Over Future Of Darlington Nursery

Battle To Prevent Closure Of Kids & Co Nursery Takes A Vital Step Forward


By Dave Grimshaw

A worried parent forced to take legal action to try to save the Kids & Co nursery in Darlington from closure has been granted permission by a High Court judge to seek a judicial review to assess the future of the centre.

In a hearing at Leeds High Court  yesterday (May 8th), public law experts from Irwin Mitchell acting for 36-year-old Sarah Walker were given permission to go to a full judicial review  in their battle to ensure plans to close the nursery in August this year are reconsidered.

The judicial review will be held at the High Court in Leeds in early July.

Darlington Borough Council originally planned to close Kids & Co, which offers 180 childcare places, in March. Following a letter from Irwin Mitchell, the council agreed to keep the centre open for five more months, but the decision has been viewed as an insufficient step by parents including Darlington resident Mrs Walker.

She is concerned she may be forced to quit work if the closure goes ahead, as she has been unable to find alternative childcare arrangements for her son Jacob. A campaign to save the nursery has gained much support across Darlington and on the web, with more than 1,000 backing the cause via a Facebook group.

Alex Peebles, a public law specialist at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office who is acting for Mrs Walker in her battle for justice, said: “There has been a huge public outcry in Darlington in relation to these plans and today’s decision is an important step towards ensuring that the proposed closure – and its impact – are subjected to a thorough level of legal scrutiny.

“The step to extend the nursery’s opening to August was very welcome, but it does not solve the longer term problems which the closure of this site has created for so many parents and families.

“We remain very hopeful that a judicial review will ensure that important questions are answered and guarantee the future of this important local community service.”

Sarah Walker added: “The announcement that this case is going to get its day in court is such good news and will give hope to all parents who rely on Kids & Co on a daily and weekly basis.

“However, we recognise this is just one step forward and we are hopeful that the judicial review will lead to some clear action that will ensure proper care and attention is given to the issue of childcare provisions in Darlington and the surrounding area.”

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