‘We’re sorry’ - Contractor apology after Morgan Court lift delays leave residents trapped

PUBLISHED: 14:20 11 August 2017 | UPDATED: 14:20 11 August 2017

Morgan Court

Morgan Court

Archant

Schindler Ltd, the contractor responsible for installation of a new lift at Morgan Court, Exmouth, has apologised after months of delays left residents stranded.

A lift firm blamed for leaving pensioners and the disabled trapped in their Exmouth flats for months has apologised for the distress its ‘technical’ failures have caused.

Schindler UK’s website boasts ‘we believe that excellence in safety, quality and customer service is key to our long-term success. We provide safe and reliable lift, escalator and related products whilst putting the customer at the heart of everything we do’.

However, scores of frail and vulnerable Morgan Court OAPs were put ‘at risk’, trapped at home for three months by the firm’s lift replacement delays. The Journal reported last week how the new lift then broke down.

Those unable to use the stairs feared death through being stuck in their flats if a fire broke out.

Schindler UK said it was ‘very sorry’ for leaving residents without a lift at the sheltered housing complex, blaming ‘technical issues’.

The company said it would ‘apologise in person’ to those affected.

It said a technical team has inspected the lift and a specialist will remain onsite for the foreseeable future. A spokesperson for the company said: “We are very sorry for the recent inconvenience and distress caused to the residents of Morgan Court during the main passenger lift-replacement works. We experienced a number of delays during the installation of the main passenger lift, the most significant being a result of a building issue within the lift shaft.

“This meant we had to suspend work while we agreed a solution with [building owner] East Devon District Council (EDDC).

“When we put the lift into service in mid-July there was a further technical issue that required us to order a replacement part on an extended lead time. This led to the lift being out of service longer than we would have expected. We will be contacting the residents directly to tell them about the actions we are taking, and we will apologise to them in person.”

Residents were told in April repairs would take six weeks; some three months later, in July, the work finished. A temporary stairlift was removed by the firm before the repairs finished.

Morgan Court tenants were dealt more ‘cruelty’ when the newly-repaired lift broke down and forced them back indoors for a further fortnight.

The Schindler UK spokesperson added: “We knew the stairlift was inconvenient for those residents who didn’t need to use it, but we should have insisted that it remained in place for those two further days.”

EDDC said it was looking into taking action against Schindler UK for its ‘unsatisfactory’ lift installation and ‘poor project management’. The council said the firm’s lack of action was ‘unacceptable’.

Morgan Court tenants branded the problems as ‘cruelty’.

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