Fears over secret decision on two Shropshire day centres

A decision about the future of two day centres for those with learning difficulties is to take place behind closed doors, sparking concerns from those affected.

Fears over secret decision on two Shropshire day centres

Shropshire Council's cabinet will meet tomorrow to secure the future of day services and look at options that could support assisted living in Bridgnorth.

The meeting will decide the future of day centres at Oak Farm in Ditton Priors and Innage Lane in Bridgnorth, but the meeting will be closed to the public.

A recommendation has been put forward for a new service provider to deliver day opportunities at both addresses.

Derek Moorhouse, secretary of the Bridgnorth and District Mencap, a charity that work in partnership with people with a learning disability, voiced his concerns about the meeting.

He said: "There are two things that concern me. The first being that it shouldn't be held in secret. I am a great believer in the democratic process and I want to actually see these major decision being made. I want to see people argue the case for us. It's a case of if you see it you can believe it, and while people say they will put our case strongly, I remain very cynical about that.

"The second concern is that the cabinet members who will make the decision do not have the relevant knowledge of the situation in Bridgnorth. Given the size of the town I am disappointed that Bridgnorth has no representation on the cabinet."

But Mr Moorhouse, who lives in Ludlow Heights, said he hoped the right decision could still be made. "I want the cabinet to think very carefully and to give a lot of thought to looking after this very vulnerable section of society," he said.

The meeting to decide the future of the two centres follows a consultation with adults with learning disabilities, their families and carers who attend them.

Last year, Shropshire Council was taken to the High Court following its decision to close Hartley's day centre in Shrewsbury. A woman with learning difficulties who used the facilities instructed specialist lawyers to challenge the council's decision.

Lord Justice Longmore found against the council, stating that not consulting the users before it was decided to close it was unlawful.

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