AN APPEAL over a dismissed judicial review by learning disabled residents hoping to stop proposed changes to their way of life has been abandoned.

Botton residents, Daniel Francis, Lucinda Riis-Johannessen and Tracey Knight, had originally requested a judicial review against charity Camphill Village Trust (CVT) which manages Botton, North Yorkshire, because they said their human rights to family life would be breached.

Residents had previously lived and worked with volunteers, known as co-workers, who shared homes in the community and acted as a family unit.

CVT told residents last year that co-workers were to be replaced by paid staff because of tax reasons – but told villagers it would make little difference to their community, and said co-workers could remain in the village if they became paid staff.

However, some residents and a group campaigning on their behalf felt this would change the philosophy of Botton forever and have been fighting to reject the changes.

An initial application for a temporary injunction to prevent the changes being made while a full application was heard was granted earlier this year, but the judicial review was later rejected by a High Court judge.

Campaigners at Botton were also undertaking parallel proceedings which have resulted in co-workers agreeing to be temporarily classes as employees for tax reasons while an attempt is made to resolve the conflict through mediation with CVT.

A spokeswoman for Action for Botton said: “The learning disabled appear not to be at an immediate risk of losing their shared living, this has evidently resulted in legal aid no longer being available for the appeal.

“Of course, should the position change and once again there be an imminent threat to the human rights of the claimants to a right to family life, they will have the option to once more make an application for a judicial review, particularly as His Honour Justice Robin Knowles indicated that he would not ‘mark the case as totally without merit.’”

Huw John, chief executive of Camphill Village Trust, said: “Obviously we are pleased that the threat of this court action has been lifted. Like the two judges who have looked in depth at this case previously, we did not consider the claims to have been arguable in court.

“Whilst it is important that everyone feels that they can access justice, the cost to the charity cannot be overlooked.

“The sums spent defending what has ultimately proven to be an unsuccessful claim could have, for example, funded the installation of eight new greenhouses for the propagation of plants, or two brand new minibuses to transport those living in the Botton community.”