‘Vital’ Service To Remain Open After Original Decision Is Quashed
Campaigners who have battled alongside specialist lawyers against the closure of a vital day centre for vulnerable adults in Birmingham have revealed their delight after the city’s council agreed a U-turn on the decision.
Plans to close the Fairway Day Centre in Kings Norton were formally approved in July this year, but Irwin Mitchell’s specialist Public Law team launched a legal battle on behalf of one of the centre’s users, as concerns were raised about how the decision was taken and whether the council consulted users.
The legal experts applied for a judicial review to challenge the decision, with the High Court then issuing an ‘interim relief’ court order to prevent the centre from closing before the case had been considered.
It has now been confirmed that Birmingham City Council has accepted that its consultation with users "fell short", and has agreed to settle the case with a ‘consent order’ which will quash the decision to close Fairway Day Centre, meaning the site will remain open.
Expert Opinion“We are delighted to see that Birmingham City Council has reversed its decision to close Fairway Day Centre.
“The centre makes a huge difference to our client, and to the lives of many other vulnerable people in the community. We had significant concerns about the decision-making process by the council, including whether a proper consultation had been undertaken.
“It is very welcome that the local authority has seen sense on this issue and we hope that the centre is able to continue to provide vital support for many years to come.
"This important public interest case has been funded by legal aid, although our client was required to pay a contribution towards the cost from their limited savings. As the council has now conceded the case, it will be responsible for paying our client's legal costs.” Oliver Carter - Associate Solicitor
The plan to close Fairway Day Centre, which supports around 50 adults with a range of needs, was initially suggested in September 2017. The decision received formal approval in July this year and was then confirmed in September following further scrutiny by the local authority.
The proposed closure raised lots of concerns among the community and also led to the creation of the campaign group Save Fairway Day Centre, which is chaired by Wendy Collymore.
Wendy, whose father uses the centre, said: “We are absolutely over the moon that the council has reversed its original decision to close the centre.
“It is an incredible community facility that makes a massive difference to dozens of families in the local area and the thought of losing it created a huge amount of fear and uncertainty. It is a fundamental part of its users’ lives and the closure would have led to a lot of turmoil and upset.
“The council has made the right call and we are delighted that they finally listened to our concerns; it is just a shame that it took issuing the case in court before they saw sense. We also hope that the issues seen in our case are never repeated again – either in Birmingham or other areas across the UK.”