How an Award-winning council drops price of elderly widow's home by £50,000 to save her £300

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New Castle Council is under attack after selling a house for £50,000 less its market value to save £300.

The attack is following its handling of private property belonging to a former Magistrate Judge, Mrs Joan Bamford.

Craig Bulman, the woman's nephew, said the Council took advantage of his aunt's health to sell her house without the family's consent.

Bulman is seeking an explanation as to why the sale of his aunt's property was considered to be in his aunt's best interest when the Council sold the house for over £50,000 less the market value.

In a series of emails to the local authority, Bulman accused the Council of abusing its power in breach of Section 4 of the Fraud Act 2006 and section 28 of the Localism Act 2011, which relates to codes of conduct.

The problem started in 2013, shortly after Mrs Bamford was diagnosed with dementia and moved to Lea Green Court. The family had agreed to the sale of the house after the realization that it would cost £90,000 yearly.

However, shortly after the consent, the care home placed Mrs Bamford into a mental health ward at Manor House in August 2012 for assessment, where she stayed for months.

After her release, she was covered by section 117 of the Mental Health Act 1983, which placed Mrs Bamford as the State's responsibility.

The family said they immediately informed the local authority to halt the sale of the house as it was no longer necessary since the State covered her care costs.

Bulman argued that the authority disregarded his aunt’s last wish to have the house remain in the family as the council claimed it was “in the best interest of Mrs Bamford”.

The New Castle Council applied to act as financial deputy for Mrs Bamford after her sister did not take the role due to her health situation.

In December 2013, the council informed Bulman of the need to sell Mrs Bamford’s house, claiming it was for her best interest despite acknowledging the woman didn’t need the money for medical upkeep.

The Council had noted in a correspondent to Bulman that “Whilst the sale of the property after December 2017 was not to ensure that Mrs Bamford had available funds to meet her social care needs, the deputy remained under a duty to consider whether it was in Mrs Bamford’s best interests to retain the property or to sell it”

The council claimed the cost associated with the property could have been a financial burden to the former Magistrate judge, however, it also stated that the decision was on the advice of three estate agents.

Notes: Leigh Banks, the Publisher of assisted on this report.

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