79-year-old woman 'trapped in her own home' for 18 months due to 'unsuitable accommodation'

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Charlotte Wilkins

A 79-year-old woman from Brighton says she has not been able to leave her home for 18 months as the building she lives in is not wheelchair friendly.

Yasmin Colbourne's health has steadily declined over the last few years and she says she feels ignored by the council.

Yasmin has been on a council housing list since 2016. Her GP and the housing association which runs the property both wrote to the council at the end of last year expressing concern that the building is not wheelchair friendly and no longer suitable for Yasmin's needs.

Yasmin said: "I'm angry with the council as they've had this information since December and it's now July and nothing's been done with it."

Yasmin has to use six fire doors to exit the building Credit: ITV News Meridian

A combination of heart and lung problems means Yasmin can barely walk a few feet without getting out of breath.

Even if Yasmin could leave her flat easily, the lift is out of service and will not be fixed until August.

A stair lift is available but it is of no use to her as she wouldn't be able to get her mobility scooter down the stairs, which she needs to move around.

The lift in Yasmin's building is currently out of service Credit: ITV News Meridian

A spokesperson from Stonewater, which provides the accommodation, said: "We absolutely empathise with Yasmin’s situation. We’ve been fully supportive of her requests for a move to a more suitable home and understand she’s been on the council list for a long time.

"We’ve already made adaptions to the internal doors to assist with her mobility and offered a temporary move during the works to the lift, which will be completed soon.

"Sadly, the scheme isn’t designed to accommodate mobility scooters, which can pose a hazard to other residents when used or left indoors. We’ll continue to work with Yasmin to support her application for more suitable housing, recognising that her current needs are different from when she originally moved in."

Yasmin can't use the stair lift as she wouldn't be able to get her mobility scooter to the bottom Credit: ITV News Meridian

A spokesperson from Brighton and Hove City Council said: "We’re very sympathetic to Ms Colbourne’s situation and are keen to help her.

"However, there is an acute shortage of affordable accommodation available for people with mobility issues.

"We cannot comment on specific cases. But in general terms, the more flexible people on our Homemove list can be about where they are willing to move to the more likely it is that we will be able to help them.

"People who are willing to move both to all areas of the city or move out of the city have the best chance of us being able to help them.

"Everyone assessed as requiring a fully wheelchair-adapted property gets priority, along with other eligible applicants, on properties advertised as such."