Controversial plans to replace Rotherham’s day care centres for those with learning disabilities is now facing a legal challenge, it has emerged, as campaigners were preparing to hand a petition with more than 70,000 signatures over to councillors who took the decision.
The town has a network of centres which are used by adults with learning needs but the council has decided to close them and instead use carers for individuals which, it believes, will modernise the service and provide better results.
However, it has run into stiff opposition from campaigners who have accused the authority of making changes to save money.
Relatives of those who use the day centres insist they are a highly valuable resource which provide a positive environment for those who use them, as well as providing respite for the families who otherwise care for those attending.
The petition is substantial for a town of Rotherham’s size and the expectation was that campaigners would hand it over at a full meeting of Rotherham Council on Wednesday.
However, the authority has confirmed it will not be able to accept it, because under the rules of the petition scheme, it cannot take anything which addresses or includes matters which are subject to legal action.
The Save Rotherham’s Disability Learning Services campaign group had previously announced that the council’s actions were being challenged in the High Court, but no further details of that action have been revealed.
The Rotherham Carers Forum had already cancelled its September meeting, due to clash with the council meeting, to allow members to attend at the Town Hall instead.
They still intend to lobby the council.
Interim chairman Angie Lindsay said: “Many members feel extremely strongly about the day centre closure plans and felt expressing our feelings should take priority over the meeting.”
Interim chairman Angie Lindsay said "Many members feel extremely strongly
about the day centre closure plans and felt expressing our feelings
should take priority to the meeting"