North Somerset Council in court over youth cuts plan
A 21-year-old man has begun his High Court challenge against North Somerset Council's proposed youth cuts.
The Conservative-led council will be defending its decision, at the hearing in Cardiff, to cut 71% of funding over the next three years.
Aaron Hunt claims the council has breached the Equality Act by failing to consider matters of disability, sexual orientation and race.
The authority said it would defend its decision but did not comment further.
In February, councillors voted through cuts of £14.4m for the next financial year.
Ending up in court is always tough for a council, even if they win. North Somerset's lawyers have spent weeks working on the case, with costs likely to run to tens of thousands of pounds.
The law itself is complex. Three barristers presented evidence relating to both the Equalities Act 2010 and education legislation. The judge will take some weeks to decide whether the council erred in the way it acted. What disheartens councillors is that he won't pay much attention to their financial difficulties.
The outcome of this case will be watched by many. There's been a rise in the number of legal challenges to council cuts; most notably plans to cut library services by Somerset and Gloucestershire were ruled illegal in November 2010.
But there is one big difference with this case - North Somerset's youth service cuts have already begun. That means a rapid ruling is wanted by everyone.
Mr Hunt suffers from learning difficulties and has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
He used to attend the Weston Youth Club on the Bourneville Estate but, since the changes, he now attends the youth club at Oldmixon.
Aaron's mother, Alison Hunt, said: "He keeps telling me it's like losing a big part of his family.
"It's just disgusting how they're treating the children, not just the disabled children - our children are our future and they're taking away from them."
The council earlier insisted it would continue to provide targeted youth services.
Union members and young people affected by the changes have held protests since the cuts were first debated.
So far, six youth groups have closed or are due to be closed.
According to the campaign against the cuts, local residents are also trying to organise activities and support as part of a bid to fill the shortfall in service provision.
The outcome of the judicial review is not expected to be announced for a few weeks.