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Council sends pre-action protocol letter after being placed in Tier 3

A district council is to bring a judicial review challenge over the Government's decision to put it into Tier 3 after the current lockdown restrictions end.

Stratford-on-Avon District Council said it had sent a judicial review pre-action protocol letter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

Tony Jefferson, Leader of Stratford-on-Avon, said: "This is not an action we take lightly, however none of the data we see warrants Stratford-on-Avon District being placed in Tier 3. It is very disappointing that the government did not use much greater granularity in deciding on tiers.

"I know that they have looked at a number of factors including the rates in all age groups, particularly older people who are more vulnerable to the virus; and we have to take into consideration the pressure on our local hospitals and NHS services. However, none of the metrics for our district warrant it being placed in tier 3. The decision to put Stratford District in Tier 3 therefore appears arbitrary and irrational.”

Cllr Jefferson added: “There is widespread feeling of disbelief and anger locally at Stratford District being in Tier 3. Our hospitality businesses are devastated by the news. People know the relevant numbers for the area and fail to see the decision as either an accurate reflection of the situation or fair. Locally, Tier 3 is just not seen as credible. 

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"The prospect of a review as late as 16 December is no consolation. Most hospitality businesses will not now open before Christmas, I understand the effort and logistics make this very difficult. The consequences for business survival and unemployment could be significant. This against the context of Stratford-on-Avon being seen as the 4th hardest hit council area in the country.

"This is why we have taken the dramatic step of initiating a judicial review pre action protocol."

The district council has requested the DHSC “retracts the decision to put Stratford-on-Avon District into Tier 3 and put it into Tier 1 or 2 and/or to take all necessary steps to withdraw and/or amend the relevant regulations”.

According to the information used by the government for tiering, Stratford had a 7 day rate/100,000 of 118.4. The number of cases over 7 days/100,000 from 20-26 November was 83 and as at 30 November was 73.

Stratford added that of the 30 local authorities in the West Midlands, only Malvern Hills had a lower rate. 

The council said that the most significant problem in the cluster in which it has been put related to Nuneaton and Bedworth and North Warwickshire, neither of which share a border with Stratford. It added that travel to work information showed that there was no link from the south to the north of the county or vice versa.

It noted that it shared a border with Redditch Borough Council which has been placed in Tier 2.  Redditch Borough had a 7 day case rate/100,000 of 297.9, almost 3 times the rate for Stratford.

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