Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

High Court challenge for Dursley Training Unit closure

The plan to close a centre for adults with learning disabilities in Gloucestershire is to be challenged in the High Court by one of its users.

Gary Pockett has instructed his lawyers to challenge the lawfulness of Gloucestershire County Council’s decision, after it announced its plans to close Dursley Training Unit (DTU). The decision to close the unit was made in May as part of wider cost cutting measures by the council, as it aims to reduce spending by £114 million. Mr Pockett’s family said the council failed to “have due regard under the Equality Act 2010, for the care needs of Gary and other residents at the centre.”

His brother, Chris, said: “Throughout our campaign, we have maintained that closure of the DTU would be a life-changing decision that would negatively impact a group of disabled adults for the rest of their lives. “We do not take this action lightly, but the stakes are very high for my brother Gary and the other users of the centre and we must therefore do everything that we can to protect the future wellbeing of one of the most vulnerable groups in our community.”

Ian Cohen, director of Goodmans Law, the firm of solicitors working on behalf of the Pocketts, added, “This is clearly a measure designed to make savings in the authority’s social care funding. It appears that insufficient thought has been given to the needs of those attending Dursley Training Unit. Unless Gloucestershire County Council carefully reconsiders its position by 20th June 2011, High Court action will follow to protect Gary’s position and the quality of life of the other disabled adults who attend the Centre.”

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