chapter  13
24 Pages

THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT 1998 AND PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS IN THE CONTEXT OF COMMUNITY CARE

ByRod Edmunds, Teresa Sutton

Throughout the latter part of the 20th century closing asylums and hospitals has been a major component of successive governments’ policy on community care,2 both as it applies to people with mental health problems and also those with learning difficulties.3 Recent political debate has highlighted perceived failings in the implementation and delivery of the policy.4 Some have even suggested that the shift from institutions into the community may have gone too far.5 All such differences of emphasis aside, commitment to the principle that people with mental health problems should as far as possible be cared for in home-like surroundings remains unchallenged. Self-evidently, the provision of appropriate housing has a pivotal role in the success of deinstitutionalisation.6 Even those favouring future housing provision policy and practice (in Scotland) for people with learning disability being developed in a way that maximises opportunities for truly independent living in the community, concede:

CHAPTER 13

Reliance upon small group homes,8 established and run by public bodies (such as mental health charities, housing trusts or health authorities), therefore looks set to continue. This raises the prospect that neighbourhood resistance will also continue. NIMBY (not in my back yard) anxieties may be expressed in terms of the impact the proposed group home is expected to have upon local amenities in terms of noise, parking, property values, anti-social behaviour and violence.9 Any or all these fears may lack substance.10