Mobility scooters ‘causing lift breakdowns’ in ‘fire-hazard ghetto’

Out Of OrderPhoto by Morris MacMatzen/Getty Images

A housing firm has been told by a lift supplier that residents on mobility scooters are causing some of the issues that are leading to lift breakdowns at a sheltered housing scheme in Devon, which has been described as a “fire-hazard” and “ghetto” by some residents.

Residents at Ethelwynne Brown Close in Bideford have complained about the lift which they say has broken down several times since it was installed six months ago.

Residents claim it poses a danger for people with limited mobility who may struggle to escape via stairs in a fire. Fears surrounding fires were sparked recently when the housing company removed fire equipment from the building.

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In response to the claims, the housing company, Westward Housing, says the lift breakdowns are often down to residents.

“We recently installed a new lift and are working with the Kone regional service manager who provided the lift to rectify issues. Kone tell us that these have sometimes been caused by customers in mobility scooters accidentally blocking the lift doors as they attempt to close,” a spokesperson told Devon Live.

“After a certain number of these incidents, the lift will automatically put it itself out of action for 10 minutes so it can re-set itself. We will put up a poster explaining this situation in the lift to make customers aware of this.”

The housing firm has been criticised for failing to maintain the lift facilities which residents say not only poses a danger during a fire but also confines them to their homes for days at a time.

When pressed for comment, Torridge District Council told the newspaper that the issues are the responsibility of Westward Housing. A spokesperson said: “We would assume that they will be given the opportunity to investigate and respond to the matters raised, and that any findings will in turn be communicated to the tenants.”

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