Broken lift makes elderly and disabled residents 'prisoners' in their own homes

  • Watch Verity Wishart's report

Elderly and disabled residents of a block of flats in South Gloucestershire say they feel like "prisoners in their own home" after the lift at their property broke down more than a week ago.

The housing association owners say the lift is finally due to be repaired, but those affected say their mental and physical health has suffered as a result of the issue.

Some have even demanded to be moved out and into a hotel.

Peter Cowles, 81, has diabetes and mobility issues. He relies on the lift to get him from and to his second floor flat.

He told ITV News West Country: "The fact that I can't get out undermines my morale totally. It would be very easy just to give up.

"I heard it was going to be repaired on Thursday 31 August. I was horrified that we were going to have three or four days without it but nothing happened even then.

"I love nature and spending time outside but I'm trapped without the lift."

Around 50 people rent one or two-bed flats at Bluebell Gardens in Bradley Stoke, South Gloucestershire. They pay owners Bromford around £600 a month plus annual maintenance charges.

"If they're honouring their part of the tenancy deal, we shouldn't have to be waiting more than 12 hours for the lift to be repaired," Peter added.

Neighbours who, like Peter, have lived at the property for more than a decade, say the lift is often broken, claiming the fire service once had to free someone trapped inside.

John Merrien cares for his disabled wife, Maureen, who's also unable to negotiate several flights of stairs.

He said: "We've had support from the landlord in the past, but this time we have no support from anybody. It's almost like a prison to us."

Residents want Bromford to store spare parts for the lift to reduce delays, install a stair lift and employ a manager on site.

In response, Bromford’s director of localities and customer contact Kevin Bennett said: "We’re very sorry for the distress and inconvenience customers have experienced due to the broken lift at Bluebell Gardens.

"Our lift contractor responded and identified the problem over the bank holiday weekend, but unfortunately the lift required a specialist replacement part to complete the repair.

"We placed an immediate order for the part and the lift is now due to be repaired on Tuesday (5 September).

"We understand the impact this has had on customers and have remained in close contact with them over the past week to provide any additional support that may be needed while the lift has been out of operation."