Over 70,000 People Signed Petition Opposing Oaks Day Centre Closure
A judicial review concerning the decision made by Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council to close a day care centre for adults with learning disabilities will be heard at the High Court in Leeds this week.
Lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are acting on behalf of a client known as AA, who cannot be named due to legal reasons but has attended the Oaks Day Centre five days a week for the last eight years.
The closure of this centre, along with another centre and two respite facilities, is due to take place this month as part of a £4.2million savings package announced by the council.
Public Law experts at Irwin Mitchell were instructed by AA and her mother, BB, to challenge the decision to close the Oaks Day Centre, and a two day judicial review will be held at the administrative court in Leeds on 13 and 14 May.
Expert Opinion“Oaks Day Centre provides a vital public service for both those with learning difficulties that use the service and their families. Our client’s family and many other local people believe that the local authority is trying to impose a radical change in services for people with learning difficulties which will have the effect of reducing the choice of activities they can do and result in relationships being lost.
“If the day centre closes, it will have a massive impact on the life of AA, and other people using the service. People have told us they don’t believe that there is enough local provision and closing services will mean a reduction in quality of life for some of the most vulnerable people in the community. Our client’s family feel that there have been missed opportunities for partnership working which could enhance day services and enable them to stay open. We are pleased that the issues will be properly scrutinised in court.”
Faith Salih - Associate Solicitor
While the council suggested that traditional services failed to offer enough independence for adults with learning disabilities, it is argued that the council did not comply with the requirements for a lawful consultation during their 12 week consultation period.
The consultation found that the overwhelming majority of customers, carers, staff and the public wanted Oaks Day Centre to remain open, with over 70,000 signatures received on a petition against the closures.