Broken lift strands disabled residents at high-rise

Disabled residents living in a Wigan high-rise have been marooned in their flats over Christmas after the lift broke almost two weeks ago.

Thursday, 4th January 2018, 2:38 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th January 2018, 3:45 pm
Vivien Morris, with her partner John Walker, have been in the flat since before Christmas

Affected tenants at Derby House in Scholes have had to cancel Christmas plans after the council failed to fix one of the lifts, leaving immobile residents unable to get to the ground floor exit.

Two of those affected by the malfunction are Vivien Morris, 62, and her disabled partner John Walker, 63 who live in a flat together on the seventh floor of the 12-storey building.

The couple were invited to Christmas Day lunch and a Boxing Day family gathering, both of which they were forced to miss because John was unable to get up or down the stairs to the closest working lift.

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"It’s absolutely diabolical," said Vivien. "This has been going on for years it’s not just these past two weeks.

"The Friday before Christmas, the lift was down. I still had all of my shopping to do because I had been poorly. If John fell I wouldn’t be able to lift him, I just couldn’t risk it."

John, who suffers from dementia, has also had two strokes and has no feeling in his left leg or arm. He uses a zimmer frame to move around the flat and a wheelchair when the couple are out and about. Vivien also suffers from COPD, a debilitating lung condition, which restricts her activity.

"I’m fuming about this and they are taking no notice," she added. "It’s all too familiar, they are always waiting for a part. Why not stock up on them?"

Another resident affected by the lift closure is 75-year-old Lilian Clarkson, who uses a zimmer frame to walk due to severe osteo-arthritis.

Despite living on the fourth floor, Lilian’s condition has meant she has been unable to get in and out of the block of flats since the lift stopped working on December 22.

"I hadn’t been out since Christmas Day," she said. "I couldn’t take my rubbish out, I had to get someone to help me. I can’t get myself up if I fall over. It’s my birthday on Saturday. I really hope the council get the lift sorted by then."

Derby House is home to a mixture of private and council tenants and some residents have bought their own flats.

Paul Barton, assistant director for environment at Wigan Council said: "We fully sympathise with the residents in Derby House and have apologised to them for the delay in fixing the lift.

"The contractors advised us that the item needed to repair it is not a stock item and needed to be ordered from the suppliers which was closed over Christmas and New Year.

"We have had confirmation from the lift maintenance company that this has now been ordered and it will be fixed this week. We have visited the tenants to support them and to explain the situation and we agree with them that this is not acceptable."

Mr Barton said another lift was accessible but residents insist tenants with mobility issues would not be able to use that lift.