The residents of a council-run sheltered housing scheme have been left ‘under house arrest’ by a faulty lift which breaks down almost daily.
The Gazette received an anonymous letter from someone whose mother lives in Evelyn Sharp House in Adeyfield, Hemel Hempstead, explaining that the broken lift is not fit for purpose.
The writer said that while some elderly people have been trapped inside the lift while it is out of action, others have been unable to leave their own accommodation because there are no ramps on the stairwells for wheelchair users.
The letter also complained: “The lift has a glass front on the outside, which makes it as if it is a greenhouse. You can’t breathe properly and and it so hot I fear for the residents’ safety.
“They are putting vulnerable people at risk.”
Annette Goddard, a 71 year old woman who lives in the building in Field Road, confirmed the problems have left many without their freedom.
She said: “We have got an old lift which has recently been revamped, but there has been a problem with it every day.
“Those of us on the first and second floors have been unable to get out of our flats since Thursday night.
“I am just fuming. I feel very strongly about people’s rights, and this has taken away our liberty and freedom of movement. It feels like we are under house arrest.
“I don’t make a fuss over nothing, but this is disgraceful.”
Ms Goddard said the residents had been told the case was reviewed on Monday and repair work would be taking place this week.
Dacorum Borough Council’s group manager for property and place said: “We have had unexpected problems with the platform lift in Evelyn Sharp House and are sorry for any inconvenience that has been caused to the residents and their families.
“We are working with our contractors to fix the issues as soon as possible. While the platform lift was out of use over the weekend, our staff have been on site to help residents access upper floors.
“The lift manufacturers and installers will be doing a full diagnostic test and carrying out repairs tomorrow (Wednesday).
“We will also be installing solar reflective film to reduce the temperature in the lift.”