Broken lift ‘left elderly housebound’

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News

Elderly residents living in town centre flats say they have been left housebound after being told they have to wait several months for a broken lift to be repaired.

The lift in Devonshire House, Devonshire Road, broke down on August 8, and as of last week, residents were warned it could take ‘approximately’ three months for work to be carried out.

Broken lift at Devonshire House, Bexhill.

Broken lift at Devonshire House, Bexhill.

But angry residents say property managers Stiles Harold Williams were aware as early as May that urgent repair work was needed.

Resident Steve Williams said: “The lift gets looked at twice a year and we understand the engineer said it’s on its way out.

“It subsequently broke down terminally.

“Stiles were warned in May or June that there were serious problems developing.”

The lack of a lift has left at least two residents housebound, while other elderly inhabitants have struggled with the stairs.

Tina White, 78, suffers from severe arthritis and uses a walker to get around.

She has to travel to the Conquest Hospital twice a week for vital infusions, but she cannot use the stairs.

To get in and out the building, Tina requires four paramedics to carry her up and down the stairs.

She said: “I cannot go downstairs. I have to be carried down. The ambulance crew come upstairs and get me with the carry chair and carry me right down, wobbles and all.”

A letter seen by the Observer revealed it will take 10 weeks for a replacement motor and gearbox to be delivered, not including a three week shut down over the Christmas period.

SHW has launched a month’s consultation with residents over the work, which is expected to cost in the region of £14,000 plus VAT.

However, resident John Connolly says the consultation process should be wavered as the work counts as an emergency and has put this to the firm.

John said: “What they are saying is that to them three months is normal.

“It’s not three months, it’s four months as it had been a month already.”

He added: “This is a health and safety issue. We are so concerned about not having a lift when we have two or three housebound residents here.

“There are other people who are struggling with the staircase. But they are the sort of people who would not make a lot of noise about it.”

SHW has been approached for a comment.