Hackney Council apologises for faulty lift which left one disabled woman trapped inside six times
- Credit: Polly Hancock
Hackney Council has apologised and fixed a broken lift after a disabled woman complained she was trapped like a prisoner in her own home for three weeks.
The lift in Holyrood House on the Portland Rise Estate, Manor House is continually breaking down, and Lorraine Kelly, 53, who gets about on an electric wheelchair, has been stuck in it six times over the past two years.
Ms Kelly complained to the Gazette that she was “going out of her mind” not being able to get out of her first-floor flat, and had missed appointments with her GP, dentist, diabetes and hearing aid clinic since the lift stopped working – again – on October 21.
She told the Gazette on Wednesday: “I’m having panic attacks being stuck in this flat - it’s closing in on me. I’m sick of getting stuck in the lift. I was stuck in there once for four hours and I had urinated on myself. I was mortified.
“When it breaks down it’s pitch black and there’s no light on. You press the alarm and everybody ignores you, so you have to ring the fire brigade and they come out.”
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The lift has become a drain on the resources of the London Fire Brigade, which was called out once in 2015 and twice this year by people stuck inside – one of whom was Ms Kelly. The council will face a £393 fine if it is called again.
The brigade introduced the charge in 2009 to recover costs from building or lift owners to clamp down on non-emergency call outs.
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The first time the lift broke down Ms Kelly was told to keep a log by a council employee, and during one month she claims it broke down 11 times.
“It’s not just me affected,” she said. “There are other people in the flat - another lady had an eight month baby and she wasn’t supposed to carry her down the stairs because she had a Caesarean, but they don’t care.”
The day the Gazette contacted the council for comment, engineers were sent out to fix the lift.
Housing chief Clayeon McKenzie said: “I would like to sincerely apologise to Lorraine and residents of Holyrood House for this ongoing issue.
“This follows repairs to the wiring which developed a fault on more than one occasion.
“I would like to reassure residents we are closely monitoring the lift and will move quickly if it does break down again.”