Council grills lift provider for ‘break-down and stairlift removal’

Out Of OrderPhoto by Morris MacMatzen/Getty Images

Residents in a three-story flat in Exmouth have allegedly been left stranded after lift problems and a stairlift was removed from the building, prompting the local council to press Schindler to solve the situation.

People with limited mobility at Morgan Court have been unable to leave the building after a lift was removed in March and a new one not installed for four months. The new lift then became out of order after just four days, residents said.

A stairlift had been installed while the lift was out of use but was reportedly removed without warning. According to a report by Devon Live, East Devon District Council are pursuing further action against lift provider Schindler. The lift firm has since been contacted by the newspaper which is awaiting a response.

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Residents are also worried about the possible outbreak of a fire in the flats and how some of them would escape without a lift or stairlift.

An East Devon District Council spokesperson told Devon Live: “We have been in constant contact with our contractor Schindler 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 as an engineer from Schindler 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.

“It would be an understatement to say that we are deeply disappointed in the service provided by Schindler. 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.

“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 Schindler 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.”

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