Elderly Exmouth residents feel ‘trapped’ in their homes as block of flats is left without a lift for three months
PUBLISHED: 16:00 17 July 2017
‘Frightened’ pensioners at Morgan Court, in Rolle Road, speak out as East Devon District Council blames contractor
Elderly residents say they have been left feeling ‘trapped’ in their homes after work to fit a new lift - due to take six weeks - has left them stranded for three months.
Pensioners with mobility problems, who live in upstairs flats in Morgan Court, Rolle Road, say they are frightened to leave their homes - fearing they might not be able to get back.
Residents were told in April work to replace the lift with new state-of-the-art ones would only take six weeks.
The lift has been out of use since, leaving residents having to use a stairlift which people claim breaks down ‘on a daily basis’.
One resident, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “We’re trapped – there are people who have been stuck at home the whole of the time.
“It’s the middle of July and we still don’t have a lift.”
Another resident, 89, said she has to get Helping Hands Community Care to do her weekly shopping for her.
She said: “I am frightened that, if I go out and come back, the chairlift will be out [of use].
“Everyone’s having problems and they have had enough.
“The chair keeps going wrong – one day it works and the next it doesn’t.
“I go to get the chairlift and it’s not working – this is happening every week.
“I may go out shopping and when I come back the chair might not be working and there will be no-one there to help me.”
East Devon District Council (EDDC), which owns the building, has expressed its ‘regret’ at the situation, blaming contractors for the delay.
An EDDC spokeswoman said: “Despite all efforts by our project manager, the contractor has perpetually failed to deliver acceptable solutions, and failed to meet their own project deadlines.
“As an interim measure, the council instigated the installation of chairlifts on the stairwell. We acknowledge this is not an ideal solution and we will ensure that these are reliable and safe in the interim.
“Having failed a June target and with the contractor currently unable to provide a completion date, we are now considering legal action to resolve the problem at the earliest opportunity.”