Judicial review into nursery cuts

General view of the High Court on the Strand, London.
General view of the High Court on the Strand, London.
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A High Court judge has ordered a judicial review into Sheffield Council’s decision to cut funding grants for nurseries in the city.

His Honour Judge Bird formally granted permission for four parents who launched legal action against city bosses to proceed to a full hearing in July.

The group of women, who cannot be named for legal reasons, argue that the council cuts to 20 nurseries in the most deprived parts of Sheffield where a commercial nursery would not be viable will have a detrimental impact on babies and toddlers in the areas.

Experts from Sheffield Law Centre, which is representing the mums, say the move will lead to a significant loss of service and probable closure of nurseries.

Judge Bird said: “It does seem that, if I were to refuse permission, there could be a real risk of causing real injustice.”

The court granted permission to proceed on all five grounds of challenge that the claimants had put forward at a hearing yesterday.

Douglas Johnson, from Sheffield Law Centre, said: “We previously invited the council to settle and avoid the need for court proceedings.

“Now the court has heard what both sides have to say, it is clear our case deserves a hearing and we are very pleased the judge rejected the council’s arguments.”

Sheffield Council’s children and young people’s scrutiny board is due to debate the need for funding community nurseries at its next meeting on July 4.