Elderly residents in Exmouth ‘fear for life’ after new lift breaks down
PUBLISHED: 16:30 03 August 2017
Elderby residents with mobiltiy problems in Exmouth have been left trapped in their Morgan Court homes after new lift fails.
Fearful residents at a block of sheltered housing flats in Exmouth have spoken of their frustration after being left without a means of getting up or down the stairs – again.
A newly-installed lift at Morgan Court, in Rolle Road, has been broken for the last fortnight and a stairlift has now been removed.
The Journal previously reported in July how ‘trapped’ residents had waited three months for the lifts to be installed.
Elderly and vulnerable tenants with mobility problems living in upstairs flats say they have been unable to leave their homes to go shopping or attend vital doctors’ appointments.
Building owner East Devon District Council (EDDC) has blamed its contractor. A council spokeswoman said: “It would be an understatement to say that we are deeply disappointed in the service provided [by the contractor]. By leaving the flats without a lift and by removing the stairlifts, they have let us down badly by potentially putting our tenants, some of whom are extremely frail and vulnerable, at risk.”
Mary Snell, 84, who lives on the top floor of Morgan Court, needs to take 33 tablets a day and says she frequently needs to get to the doctors.
“It’s very frustrating – I can’t get out or do anything,” she told the Journal.
“They took away the stairlift and I think there were some people who had gone out and couldn’t get back in.”
Another top floor resident, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “We’ve now been without a lift for 14 days and now they’ve taken the stairlift away, so we’re totally trapped in.”
Another resident, who lives on the first floor, has threatened to write a letter to the Government over the matter, which she fears could result in someone dying.
The woman added: “If there’s a fire it will cause a death. This has been six months now and we still can’t get out of these flats. Morgan Court residents have had enough – this is cruelty, and it has got to stop.
“We just want to get back to normality.”
An EDDC spokeswoman said: “We have been in constant contact with our contractor at all levels to ensure that they immediately rectify the fault with the new lift, which had only just been installed. We anticipate that the lift will be fully operational later today (Wednesday, August 2) as an engineer is replacing a faulty part.
“In the meantime, a team of our officers are continuing to work on site at Morgan Court, as we have been doing so over the last few days, to support residents through this immensely inconvenient situation with any access requirements, temporary housing, support issues and to keep them fully briefed on the situation. We will continue to monitor the lift closely over the next few days, in case any further problems arise.
“For our tenants to be without a lift, or even a stairlift, is simply not acceptable and we are looking into taking further action [against the contractor] for their unsatisfactory installation and poor project management. In the meantime, we apologise to our customers for the inconvenience and distress that the lack of a lift at Morgan Court may have caused them. Our priority is keeping tenants safe and we are working hard to ensure that this situation is not allowed to happen again.”
The Journal approached the contractor for comment as it went to press yesterday.