High Court yet to decide on Botton case

Botton residents Geoffrey Spackman, far left, and Clare Burge, second from right, with co-workers Eddie Thornton, Fionn Reed, Mark Barber and Lydia Gill-Waring, hoping for a positive outcome from their High Court case
Botton residents Geoffrey Spackman, far left, and Clare Burge, second from right, with co-workers Eddie Thornton, Fionn Reed, Mark Barber and Lydia Gill-Waring, hoping for a positive outcome from their High Court case

The High Court is still to reach a judgement on the future of Botton Village.

For the last 60 years, learning disabled residents in Botton have shared their homes with volunteer co-workers and their families in a unique shared-living arrangement.

Camphill Village Trust, the charity that operates Botton, are seeking to implement changes to the way it operates and make the volunteers paid employees, a move that will force them to live seperately from the residents.

On March 13, a court order was won by campaigners opposing the proposed changes which temporarily put a halt to proceedings that residents claim would have seen their homes “dismantled” and their co-workers “evicted”.

The full hearing at the High Court began on Tuesday, yet no judgement was reached and the case continues.

A spokesman from Camphill Village Trust told the Whitby Gazette that the charity were hopeful of resolving the issue today (Wednesday).

He said: “We’re sorry not to have been able to reach a full agreement on the co-worker issues at Botton that would carry us through to the full court hearing later in the year.

“We’re hopeful some kind of resolution will be reached when we return to court today.”

Neil Davidson, chairman of campaign group Action for Botton, revealed that he was confident of a positive outcome as far as the residents and their co-workers were concerned.

“We can now anticipate that, subject to the judge, a holding position with legally binding undertakings will be established,” he said.

“Under this proposal, which was hammered out late last night, the villagers will be able to stay in shared living with their co-workers through to a final hearing later this year.

“It is our sincere hope that, having failed to achieve a final solution by April 1, CVT will at last move to real legal mediation.

“It has been repeatedly offered but now they know just how punishing this fight will be and we hope they will take up our genuine offer that has always been there on the table for them.”