Specialist Lawyers Secure Permission For Judicial Review Of Closure Decision
Campaigners trying to stop the closure of three social education centres in Doncaster have won permission to take their legal battle to a Judicial Review hearing at the High Court.
Specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are representing a group of concerned South Yorkshire residents who are challenging Doncaster Council’s decision to close Conisbrough, Cedar and Thorne Social Education Centres.
The three centres provide adult day care facilities and the families of those using the facilities have concerns about the impact that closing the centres will have on the community. A judge has now given permission for the legal team to take the case to a judicial review on 16 January 2015 at the High Court in Leeds.
Katy Cowans, an expert solicitor at Irwin Mitchell which has successfully challenged many cuts to services across the country, and is leading the challenge, said:
Expert OpinionThis is the next step in our legal battle to help these vulnerable people protect the services that they feel are essential.
“Elderly and disabled people are facing severe cuts to their services all across the UK and it is having a massive impact on their lives. The cuts to the social education centres in Doncaster are the latest to come under scrutiny and we have heard from many families about the negative affect that the council’s decision will have.
“It isn't yet clear what the council have done to date to implement the decision to close the social education centres at Conisborough, Thorne and Cedar, especially now that many of the service users from Adwick have been forced to use the facilities at Conisborough whilst their SEC is entirely refurbished following the discovery of asbestos.
“We are now busy preparing for the Judicial Review in the High Court when we hope the decision to close the centres will be quashed.” Katy Cowans - Associate Solicitor
The closures are part of a raft of measures by Doncaster Council which needs to cut £109m from its budget.
Gordon Swann, whose son Steven attends the Conisbrough Social Education Centre, said: “The past 12 months have been an absolute nightmare for the parents and carers of the Borough. The uncertainty surrounding the proposed dismantling of the Social Education Centre system is causing a great deal of stress and worry.
“The Council is intending to thrust upon us, without our consent, a 'modernisation' programme which they have no mandate for. We are being told by people who have no concept of life as a Carer what they consider is the ideal alternative to the 'status quo'
“We have no idea what they have in mind for the service users who would be displaced as the personal assessments have not yet been completed. A very common saying is ‘if it isn’t broke don’t mend it’ and this certainly applies to the Social Education Centres which for many years have fulfilled all the requirements that service users and carers need in a very sympathetic and professional manner.”
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