Stratford-on-Avon District Council starts legal challenge against Tier 3 Covid restrictions

1 December 2020, 17:27 | Updated: 1 December 2020, 17:33

File photo: View of the spire of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon
File photo: View of the spire of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Stratford-on-Avon District Council is challenging the Government's decision to put the area into Tier 3 after the current lockdown restrictions end on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the council sent a Judicial Review pre-action protocol letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Council leader Tony Jefferson said it was "not an action they took lightly" but said "none of the metrics for our District warrant it being placed in Tier 3."

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The District Council is requesting the Department for Health and Social Care retracts the decision to put Stratford-on-Avon into Tier 3, instead placing it into one of the lower tiers.

Mr Jefferson said: "This is not an action we take lightly, however none of the data we see warrants Stratford-on-Avon District being placed in Tier 3. It is very disappointing that the government did not use much greater granularity in deciding on tiers.

"I know that they have looked at a number of factors including the rates in all age groups, particularly older people who are more vulnerable to the virus; and we have to take into consideration the pressure on our local hospitals and NHS services.

"However, none of the metrics for our District warrant it being placed in tier 3. The decision to put Stratford District in Tier 3 therefore appears arbitrary and irrational.

"There is widespread feeling of disbelief and anger locally at Stratford District being in Tier 3. Our hospitality businesses are devastated by the news. People know the relevant numbers for the area and fail to see the decision as either an accurate reflection of the situation or fair. Locally, Tier 3 is just not seen as credible.

"The prospect of a review as late as 16 December is no consolation. Most hospitality businesses will not now open before Christmas, I understand the effort and logistics make this very difficult. The consequences for business survival and unemployment could be significant. This against the context of Stratford-on-Avon being seen as the 4th hardest hit council area in the country.

"This is why we have taken the dramatic step of initiating a Judicial Review pre action protocol."