Victory For Parents Fighting To Save Hollyrood Care Home After They Instruct Lawyers
Families fighting the closure of a West Sussex care home have welcomed the reversal of the decision following a legal challenge.
The Disabilities Trust, which operates Hollyrood Care Home, in Lindfield, near Haywards Heath, West Sussex, announced in August that it intended to close the home, which cares for adults with autism, saying the building was no longer fit for purpose.
Two families instructed specialist public law and human rights lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to challenge the decision. Relatives of Euan Cheeseman and Daniel Spivack said the closure would have proved devastating for them and their families.
Lawyers at Irwin Mitchell wrote to The Disabilities Trust in September, urging it to reverse its decision or potentially face a judicial review in the High Court.
After The Disabilities Trust refused to keep Hollyrood open, the legal team filed an application for judicial review in early October to challenge the closure decision as being unlawful, as there had been no consultation with residents and their families before making the decision.
The Disabilities Trust has now performed a U-Turn, saying Hollyrood will remain open and that it will hold a consultation with residents and their families about the future of the care home. An external agency has been appointed to manage the consultation.
Expert Opinion“The news that The Disabilities Trust has reversed its decision to close Hollyrood is a victory for residents and their families and – at least for now – secures the place Euan and Danny have come to know and love as their home.
“This case shows how important it is for the views and needs of residents to be taken fully into account when making such major decisions and highlights the need for a proper consultation process to take place. It also underlines the importance of judicial review and legal aid in ensuring that people have effective access to justice.
“Our clients were very concerned that no consultation was conducted before the decision to close Hollyrood was made and feel vindicated by the news that the home will now remain open. The decision spares them from what would have been a last minute panic to find their sons alternative accommodation that could meet their needs and the upset any such move would entail.
“Places like Hollyrood are not just facilities and buildings; they are people’s homes, a place of refuge and support and a safe space for people to live full lives where their needs are met.
“We identified strong legal grounds to challenge the decision to close Hollyrood and we’re proud to have supported the families in their fight to save a home for their sons, which enables them to look forward to the future and get back to their lives.” Oliver Carter - Associate Solicitor
Jackie Cheeseman’s son, Euan, has lived at Hollyrood for six years and Louisa Spivack’s son, Daniel, 45, has lived at the home for 18 years.
Louisa Spivack said: “Danny is very happy at Hollyrood and the loss of his home would have affected him badly. He cannot communicate and would have great trouble in understanding why he had to leave his home, his friends and the countryside he knows and loves. It's a great relief not to have to burden him with these problems.”
Jackie Cheeseman said: “We were devastated at the sudden, unexpected announcement to close Hollyrood. Our son, like others, is a highly complex, vulnerable individual and the wrong home would be catastrophic. Euan has made huge progress at Hollyrood, and we want to ensure that he remains content and safe, supported by people who know him well, who respect and value him.
“We now hope that relations between The Disabilities Trust senior management, residents, their families and front line staff can be open and honest with the best interests of residents genuinely coming first. We are very grateful to the team at Irwin Mitchell for securing this for Euan.”