Harold Hill OAPs left high and dry

ELDERLY people living in a sheltered housing complex are bracing themselves for a Christmas stuck in their homes after they have been told that their lift could be out of action for up to four weeks.

People living in the block of flats in Charlburry Crescent, Harold Hill claim that a sign was put up outside of the lift on Monday November 23 saying that maintenance work will be carried out on the lift from the end of November through December.

Resident Marjorie Hughes said: “We all think it is really appalling because for lots of us it is the prospect of being stuck in their flats in the run up to Christmas.”

Over the past year, the thirty residents who range from ages 60 to 90 claim that the lift has broken down around 12 times and on one occasion firefighters were even called out to rescue someone stuck in the lift.

They argue that essential maintenance work is needed on the lift, but for some of the residents living on the upper floor, who are wheelchair bound, it could mean that it would be almost impossible for them to get downstairs and to go out.

Mrs Hughes said: “All of us living in the complex have got various problems and we really do rely on the lift.

“I am quite lucky in comparison, because although I should not be using the stairs I will just be really careful and do it, but for those in a wheelchair they just have no other options.”

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The residents fear that they may also be forced to cancel their Christmas events they had planned.

Heaton ward Cllr Denis O’Flynn (Lab) who is working to get alternative arrangements put in place while the lift is out of action, said: “There has been no consultation with the residents about the fact that the lift is going to be out of action for so long and I think it is a violation of their human rights because this is a particularly vulnerable section of our community who need to be cared for.”

Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Lesley Kelly said: “Originally we were informed by the contractors that the works to the lift would take four weeks, however we considered this unacceptable and asked them to complete the work within a week.”