Dundee City Council will not defend legal bid to save Kemback centre

Dundee City Council has said it was not defending a legal bid to overturn a decision to close Kemback Street Adult Resource Centre to avoid “unecessary” expense.

Lawyers acting for campaigners have launched a judicial review of the ruling to close the centre for adults with additional support needs and the courts had given the council’s legal department three weeks to respond, but the deadline passed last week.

The local authority’s lawyers could have petitioned a judge to request a late submission if they intended to defend their position.

But last night a council spokesman said the local authority deemed such a petition unnecessary as a new consultation on the centre’s future would get under way next month.

The spokesman said: “The council’s position is quite clear.

“This petition is unnecessary as the social work and health committee on February 25 agreed to carry out a new consultation and the Kemback Street Resource Centre will remain open pending the outcome of the consultation.

“The committee will make a decision following the outcome of this new consultation, which will commence in May. The council has not lodged answers to avoid any unnecessary public expense.

“We have been in contact directly with Thompsons Solicitors providing them with a minute of undertaking and asking that the first hearing in the court is discharged.

“The council will not be making any further comment on this legal matter.”

Last week the council appointed an independent consultant to oversee a new survey of service users and their families after the earlier consultation was slammed by the Care Inspectorate.

However, opposition leader Kevin Keenan said they should also appoint a service user’s parent or carer to take part in the consultation process to ensure fairness.

“I believe the council has called it wrong on a few occasions,” he said.

“What the Kemback Street carers were looking for was a parent member to be part of the consultation, to sit alongside the independent consultant to make sure there was fair representation.”

“Working together with the parents could have healed the wounds of this whole sorry affair.”

Mr Keenan is currently asking why the original consultation failed and has called for a full investigation.

He said: “If the council had listened to the parents I doubt whether there would have been legal action or a report by the Care Inspectorate.

“This whole thing has been badly handled from start to finish. I think that the council needs to go a long way to heal the wounds of the parents and service users.”