Specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have been instructed by the family of a severely disabled Salford teenager, Rachel Barton, to issue an application for a judicial review against Salford City Council in the continuing fight to Save The Grange, the city's only residential care home for severely disabled children.
16 year old Rachel, who has autism and severe learning disabilities, as well as a range of other complex needs including epilepsy and tuberous sclerosis, has been a resident at The Grange since summer 2014.
"The staff at The Grange have been fantastic with Rachel, providing the best possible care" says her mum, Rebecca Howarth, from Swinton " Rachel is extremely happy there and is doing really well.
"If The Grange closed she would have to move out of Salford, move school and be away from her family" she explains "This would be devastating for her and all her family. The move would really set her back. No figure should be put on providing the best possible care for a severely disabled child and their happiness and development.
"It is disappointing that after being urged to reconsider its actions, Salford Council has shown no sign of being willing to do so" she adds "The actions taken by Irwin Mitchell show that we are not taking the Council's decision lying down and I continue to implore the Council to change its mind."
Over 3,000 people signed a petition to Save The Grange in a long running campaign supported by Salford Red Devils players and Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham.
When Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, made the decision to shut the residential care home in August there were shouts of 'traitor' and 'shame' aimed at the Jeremy Corbyn supporter (see previous Salford Star article – click here).
The decision to axe The Grange was followed this week by potential cuts to transport for nursery and college goers with special education needs, or SEN, despite Deputy Mayor, John Merry, promising parents a year ago that "There are no proposals to change people's arrangements" (see previous Salford Star article – click here).
Commenting on the application for a judicial review to stop The Grange closure, Mathieu Culverhouse, a specialist lawyer for Irwin Mitchell, says: "The Grange provides a vital lifeline for the children and their parents. The upheaval of forcing the children to move to a new home suitable to treat their complex needs will have a massive impact on their lives. The parents have asked the Council not to disrupt their children's care arrangements.
"We argue that the Council failed to carry out a proper public consultation into the proposals, has not conducted a full assessment of how the current residents will be affected and has failed to identify appropriate homes, within or outside Salford, where children could be sent" he explains.
"We had previously written to the Council urging it to reconsider its decision or potentially face a judicial review into the decision in the High Court" he adds "Unfortunately the Council has not shown that it's willing to reconsider its decision, and so we have issued our application for a judicial review."
For a full background see previous Salford Star articles on The Grange – click here and click here