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Campaigners refused permission to appeal ruling on closure of children’s centres

A campaign group has failed to obtain permission to appeal a High Court ruling that a decision by the Cabinet at Buckinghamshire County Council to close 19 out of its 35 children’s centres was lawful.

In July in L (An Infant), R (On the Application Of) v Buckinghamshire County Council [2019] EWHC 1817 Mrs Justice Andrews said: “I am satisfied that the council carried out a fair consultation before it made the decision; it took the responses properly into account, and it complied with all its relevant statutory duties. This claim for judicial review must therefore be dismissed.”

A statement on Save Buckinghamshire’s Children’s Centres' Facebook page said an application to appeal was “not successful”.

“After 2 years of fighting the closures, we will be losing 19 children’s centre’s and the new service will be starting on Monday. It’s been a really long battle and one which I am very sad and disappointed about but we have all fought very hard and all played a role in this,” Alka Dass-Hundal said.

“We have also had amazing achievements and I believe we have tried everything we possibly could to stop these closures. Without this campaign group, we could not have kept the centre’s open for as long as we have and that comes down to groups of people and communities coming together, councillors fighting our corner and asking questions and helping (and yes it’s been cross party ) and legal challenges and constant scrutiny as well as media support.”

The case was the first time that the High Court considered in detail the meaning of the ‘sufficiency duty’ in section 5A of the Childcare Act 2006 (ChA 2006) in the context of whether a council’s consultation on the closure of a number of children’s centres was unlawful or not.

See: Judicial review challenge over closure of children’s centres defeated by local authority by James Goudie QC.

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