Elderly residents in Wigan high rise left stranded after lift breaks

Elderly residents in a Wigan high rise block of flats are outraged after a broken lift left them stranded in the building for almost two weeks.

Wednesday, 29th May 2019, 12:49 pm
Lilian Clarkson who says she is trapped in her own home because of broken lifts ; left Derby House

Tenants of Derby House in Scholes have slammed Wigan Council for failing to repair the elevator on the even floors, leaving several disabled or elderly residents without access to the exit.

Lilian Clarkson, 77, who has severe osteo-arthritis, said she feels constantly stranded in her flat as the lifts are “always breaking down”.

“The even lift was out of order for well over a week,” said the fourth-floor resident. “It was on an off for a week before that.

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“For people like me, it’s a real problem. I had a bad fall before Christmas. I’m currently on two crutches and I hadn’t been out during the day since the day before it broke.

“I had no courage to go out, and if I did decide that I wanted to I would have had to navigate down at least two flights of stairs to get to the other lift.

“It’s just not fair.”

Lilian said she has a neighbour on the same floor who has a heart condition and was also trapped in her own home because of the broken lift.

Early last year, some residents were forced to cancel their festive plans when the lift stopped working just three days before Christmas.

Disabled seventh-floor resident John Walker, who suffers from dementia and has had two strokes, and his partner Vivian Morris, were trapped in their home from Christmas Day until early January because he was unable to get down the stairs.

Last month the town hall approved plans to replace all of the lifts in every high-rise block in Scholes, saying that the failures were “causing reputational damage for the council, disruption and inconvenience for residents, limiting access to their homes in some instances and resource issues for the Tenancy Services Team due to the need for welfare visits”.

But Lilian said that the residents cannot wait for all of the lift services to be fully functional.

“It’s supposed to be happening in two years,” she added. “That’s just impossible for us. They are always breaking down. They come to repair them but then they break down again.”

Before the weekend residents were informed that the lift would probably not be fixed before the Bank Holiday and technicians had still not arrived as Friday evening rolled round.

Finally, the lift was repaired on Saturday.

David Lyon, Wigan Council’s Assistant Director for Environment and Housing Operations, said: “The lift was out of action for a couple of days until Saturday.

“The lift needed a specialised repair so unfortunately the problem could not be fixed on site.”

“All residents are aware of the procedure for this type of unfortunate situation and should anyone need assistance they should contact our Central Watch team at Wigan Council and they will be happy to help and arrange any necessary support.

“We apologise to the residents affected.”