Residents’ fight against ‘house of horrors’

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Disabled and elderly residents are being forced to live in a ‘house of horrors’ in Kirkby.

Ceilings falling down, water in light fittings, first aid kits and lifeline buttons locked away out of reach and electricity boxes bursting into flames are just a few of the long list of problems residents at Nuncar Court say they are facing.

Residents at Nuncar Court are unhappy with problems and repairs that have not been done.

Residents at Nuncar Court are unhappy with problems and repairs that have not been done.

The housing caters for those over 60 or have disabilities.

But after years of problems the close-knit community have had enough of living in - what they have dubbed a ‘house of horrors’ or ‘cut-throat corner’.

And despite a five year battle with Ashfield Homes, they say nothing has been done.

Colleen Cooper (54), who lives there with her 62-year-old husband Peter, said: “Things are absolutely disgraceful. It is a complete house of horrors. Everything that can go wrong has gone wrong and I feel we are being left to deal with the consequences and nothing is being done to help us.

“I fear that is going to take a death or serious injury before anything is seriously dealt with, and by then it will be too late.”

Her husband - who suffers with a serious heart condition - had a heart attack after clearing snow from the communal car park several winters ago.

Mrs Cooper said: “We had asked so many times for the snow to be cleared so that emergency vehicles could get in if needed. But they say it wasn’t their responsibility. So my husband did it himself but had a heart attack while doing it.”

She called Ashfield Homes but it said it wasn’t its responsibilty.

“The day after Peter was taken into hospital, they sent someone out to clear the rest of the snow,” she said. “If it wasn’t their responsibility why did they then come and sort it?They should have done it in the first place before Peter had a heart attack. It’s totally unforgivable.”

Paul Bingham, director of asset management for Ashfield Homes Limited said: “We held meetings with tenants in July and September 2014 to discuss service delivery, however, no repair issues or formal complaints were raised at this time.

“Our customers remain at the heart of our service delivery and one of our senior managers visited Nuncar Court on the 4th November 2014 to listen to our customers views.

“We will continue to engage with our customers to further investigate the issues they have now brought to our attention as we are committed to ensure we deliver services focused on our customers views.”

Disabled resident Ann Wright (72) was recently trapped in a lift for over an hour before anyone came to her rescue.
She said: “It was terrifying. I pressed the help button and Ashfield Homes said they would get someone to help. But it took over an hour for a maintenance man came and they never got back to me to tell me someone was on their way. It was so cold in there and I am claustrophobic, so I was petrified.
“Nobody ever came out to see me afterwards to make sure I was ok. I think it’s unacceptable.”
She eventually had to be lifted out from the lift. But now is too scared to use the lift so struggles down the stairs.
She thinks the emergency contact should be linked directly to maintenance to reduce time in the lift.
Two other residents have also been stuck in the lift.
She added: “It’s ridiculous that it doesn’t go straight to the maintenance, it would reduce the time I was in there. Even the guy himself said it would save time.”

ASHFIELD HOMES SAYS: “We have received three reports over the past 12 months associated with a faulty lift. On each occasion the lift’s alarm/communication system has been activated and our 24-hour Support Centre have contacted our lift specialists who have attended on each occasion within 1 hour. The lift communication system can be utilised at any time by persons inside the lift to talk with our Support Centre Officers who are able provide support and assurance and if necessary contact the emergency services at any time.”

See this week’s Chad for more about the home and the response from Ashfield Homes.