Damaged lift strands OAPs on top floor

Bicester Advertiser: Maurice Kirby, left, and Robert Light. OX56940 Buy this photo » Maurice Kirby, left, and Robert Light. OX56940

PENSIONERS have been left stranded on the top floor of a sheltered housing block for the second time in 18 months.

In June 2011, residents of The Willows, Chapel Street, Bicester, were stuck for 18 days after the lift broke and parts had to be shipped in from abroad.

Residents were left fuming when it stopped working again in their three-storey building, run by housing association Sovereign Vale, on Friday, January 18.

Robert Light, 70, who is confined to a wheelchair, said he was running short of food.

He said: “I’m in a wheelchair and I’m completely knackered. I’m on the top level, rubbish is piling up and I’m struggling for food. I’ve had enough.”

Clothes washing facilities and rubbish disposal are all on the ground floor. Mr Light said a warden came in two days a week, but since the lift broke no one had been in to check on him.

He said: “I think it’s disgraceful. If this is the way they treat someone like me who is registered disabled, then God knows what it’s coming to.

“Sovereign Vale, it seems to me, don’t care two hoots.”

Fellow resident, retired electrician Maurice Kirby, 76, who has mobility problems and lives on the top floor with wife Margaret, who has Alzheimer’s, renewed calls for a second lift to be installed at the flats. He was stranded 18 months ago and described how he had to crawl downstairs and back up again to have an evening out with his brother, and how he had to rely on his daughter and carer to take him food.

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He said: “It should not have happened again. What they (Sovereign Vale) said would be done has not been done. They said they would put in a new lift and nothing has been done.

“I think they should have a second lift so that in emergencies people can use it. It’s a disgrace.”

In a statement, Sovereign Vale said an engineer had been out on Saturday but was unable to fix the lift. It said buttons to the top floor were not working although the lift was running normally to all other floors. Engineers were currently waiting for parts to reapair the lift.

Support for residents would be stepped up and the association’s housing officer would be meeting with householders, it said.

Comments (3)

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1:21pm Tue 29 Jan 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

If he was my relative, I would have had Ocado round with an emergency food delivery!
If he was my relative, I would have had Ocado round with an emergency food delivery! Andrew:Oxford

1:26pm Tue 29 Jan 13

oafie says...

Some folks might not have that available to them...why not send a food parcel anyway....
Some folks might not have that available to them...why not send a food parcel anyway.... oafie

6:41pm Tue 29 Jan 13

Myron Blatz says...

Soverign Vale will only do what it has to as a statuatory obligation in Law - though if it has any compassion, scruples or decency, it should be ashamed. Despite what Housing Associations may say, they are not governed by the same obligations to Tenants which local authorities are obliged to operate under - and one reason why many local authorities in England try to offload responsibility, and place Tenants and Residents (increadingly for those in Sheltered accommodation) with private Care facilities. If memory serves, Oxford City Council tried and failed to transfer its 8,000+ Tenants and Residents over to an Housing Association back in 2005, but public consultation defeated the move.
Soverign Vale will only do what it has to as a statuatory obligation in Law - though if it has any compassion, scruples or decency, it should be ashamed. Despite what Housing Associations may say, they are not governed by the same obligations to Tenants which local authorities are obliged to operate under - and one reason why many local authorities in England try to offload responsibility, and place Tenants and Residents (increadingly for those in Sheltered accommodation) with private Care facilities. If memory serves, Oxford City Council tried and failed to transfer its 8,000+ Tenants and Residents over to an Housing Association back in 2005, but public consultation defeated the move. Myron Blatz

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