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City council faces judicial review challenge over day centre closure

Campaigners have launched a judicial review challenge over a decision by Birmingham City Council to close a day centre used by people with a range of physical and learning disabilities.

The Fairway Day Centre in Kings Norton provides support for around 50 adults. The decision to close the site was formally approved in July this year, and was confirmed last month following further scrutiny.

Irwin Mitchell, which is acting for the family of one of the centre’s users, argue that the closure was unlawful on several grounds, including that the decision was taken without a proper consultation of those affected.

The law firm’s client – who cannot be named for legal reasons – has a range of conditions including muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy and learning disabilities. She uses the centre four days a week.

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The Save Fairway Centre campaign group has meanwhile launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to help assist the legal challenge.

Oliver Carter, a solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Fairway Day Centre is a vital hub for vulnerable people in the Kings Norton area and the community is extremely concerned regarding the steps which have been taken to close it.

“After reviewing the key facts surrounding this case, we believe the decision has ultimately been taken on unlawful grounds and we are now urging the council to once again revisit the issue.

“The closure of this site will have a significant negative impact on a number of people and it is clear that it should not be taken lightly. Users of the centre believe that the council had failed to consult and so did not know just how seriously this will impact on the local community. We will support our clients every step of the way in this matter.”

In a statement Birmingham City Council said: “We are committed to ensuring that all our service users are treated with dignity and respect and have appropriate services in buildings that are fit for purpose. Following feedback from service users and carers we entered into additional engagement to ensure the proposals were fully communicated. After approval by cabinet the decision was called in for further scrutiny, and subsequently approved on return to cabinet committee.

“All service users' needs are being reassessed and options looked at, including use of a direct payment, access to community resources, support at home and access to other council-run centres, ensuring that support and care is provided to meet eligible social care need and that support is provided in local communities close to home.”

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