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Thursday, 24 July 2014

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South Lakes council pays Cumbria residents £55,000 to settle lawsuit

TAXPAYER money has been spent to settle a legal dispute after South Lakeland District Council introduced parking charges for disabled residents.

SLDC has now said it was not provided "the full details on which to base its decision", which led to four residents starting legal proceedings.

Last month it agreed to pay a five-figure sum to settle the case, brought under the Equality Act 2010, amid fears it faced a costly bill if it were to lose.

It has emerged an equality impact  assessment was not shown to the council ahead of the decision and a full consultation did not take place.

The claimants stated that the failure of the council’s off street car parking regime in 2011/12 to make allowances for their disability had an adverse effect on them.

SLDC ‘s Cabinet decided to settle the case at its meeting on December 12 having regard to legal advice and in particular the high costs that could arise if the case were to go to trial.

The council will bear the cost of the settlement, which is expected to be in the region of £55,000.

SLDC Chief Executive Lawrence Conway, said: “SLDC agreed to settle this case rather than fight it in court due to the amount of costs that could potentially be awarded if the authority were to lose.

“SLDC will be investigating fully why the information required by its Cabinet was not supplied, and will take appropriate action if required. This is a case that has a long history. Since these administration errors occurred, SLDC has undergone a corporate restructure and implemented changes which ensure Cabinet and Council are given all relevant information needed to make sound and informed decisions, particularly in respect of Equality issues."

 

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