The High Court has intervened in the ongoing dispute at Botton Village, putting a temporary stop to proposed changes to living arrangements in residents’ homes.
An order was made to halt controversial adaptations being made by Camphill Village Trust (CVT) at three residences in the shared community.
The claimants’ case was that altering the current arrangements at Botton, where learning disabled residents live with non-disabled co-workers, amounts to a breach of their rights under Article 8(1) European Convention on Human Rights.
Laura Hobey-Hamsher of Bindmans LLP, who represented the three claimants, said: “One of my clients has lived in Botton Village for over 20 years, the other two have lived there for 10 and five. All view it as their home, and their house-parents as their second families.
“What is being proposed is the breaking up of real family units.
“The changes made to date have already caused these three vulnerable individuals real and palpable distress.
“The thought of the family lives that they have developed being destroyed is frightening and incomprehensible in equal measure.”
Huw John, chief executive of CVT, told the Whitby Gazette that although the charity recognises that some people have a desire to retain the co-worker model of care at Botton, the trust is of the opinion that it creates issues around financial control and governance, as well as quality of care.
“We have been given clear direction from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the Charity Commission and funders such as North Yorkshire County Council that we must address those issues,” he added.
“A block on referrals to Botton, as requested by North Yorkshire County Council, is in place, as it has been for some time. This is because of ongoing, long-standing concerns about the quality of care at Botton.
“We are disappointed to be forced to spend charitable money and further time and energy on legal matters, rather than focussing on people we support.”