Fined for Fifties flashback

6th August 1999 at 01:00
AN 11-year-old on the Wirral was denied a place at school because the council used a 47-year-old street plan to make its calculations, writes Lucy Bowen.

The Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council was fined pound;500 by the local government ombudsman after it emerged that officers used the 1952 Kelly's Street Directory to determine catchment areas which omitted new housing estates.

The council officers admitted using local knowledge to fill in gaps in the outdated charts as they calculated distances to one hundredth of a mile. Another council map was made of photocopies pasted together.

"The council's system was haphazard in the extreme with the council providing contradictory and inadequate information," said the ombudsman's report.

The council had told the parent that her child did not qualify for a place as they lived outside a four -mile radius of the school. The mother claimed they lived 3.6 miles away. The child has since been moved to the school.

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