Lifts at sheltered housing to be replaced

FAULTY lifts at more than 20 sheltered accommodation schemes in North Tyneside are to be replaced.

North Tyneside councillors have called for an investigation after being made aware of elderly residents facing repeated problems with their elevators.

Vulnerable residents have been left trapped on upstairs floors due to lifts breaking down, the latest full council meeting heard.

Although the lifts in the 23 schemes that have them are inspected and serviced regularly, they are all now beyond their expected lifespan, resulting in a series of breakdowns.

Because spare parts for such old lifts are difficult to get hold of, some have been left out of order longer than would normally be expected while replacement components were made specially.

A total of £300,000 is being spent this year on overhauling and repairing elevators ahead of their planned replacement in a phased programme of works starting next year.

To support tenants of schemes with lifts awaiting repairs, the council has introduced temporary measures including installing stairlifts, offering ground-floor accommodation and providing extra staff to help residents with tasks such as carrying shopping or laundry.

The council’s overview and scrutiny committee has agreed to investigate the problems experienced with the lifts.

Borough mayor Linda Arkley, pictured, said: “Protecting vulnerable people is one of my top priorities.

“Our sheltered accommodation has needed attention and investment for some time, which is why, despite national concerns about private-finance initiatives, we have continued with our improvement plans.

“It’s important we investigate the problems with our lifts, and I welcome members working together on this issue.

“In meantime, as an immediate priority, I will continue to work with the cabinet member for housing to ensure our residents are receiving all the support that they need and that our targeted investment makes a difference.”