Wheelchair poses fire risk, woman, 91, told... and so do pot plants and cats (From This Is Wiltshire)
Wheelchair poses fire risk, woman, 91, told... and so do pot plants and cats
Updated 10:50am Thursday 6th March 2014 in By Elizabeth Mackley
Housing bosses have told Doris Turner, 91, she may have to move out because she can no longer store her wheelchair in the hallway of the block where she lives as it is a fire risk.
And another resident was told to get rid of his pet cats for the same reason.
Mrs Turner owns her flat in an apartment block managed by housing company GreenSquare Group in Pound Close, Lyneham.
But she has to leave her collapsible wheelchair in the hall because she lives on the first floor.
Last month all the residents in the block of flats were asked to clear out their belongings from the communal areas, including the halls, following a fire risk assessment made under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
If the items were not removed from the communal spaces, they were told they would be removed and disposed of.
Mrs Turner’s wheelchair fits neatly into a space under the stairs, which nobody uses, but when she spoke to GreenSquare about leaving her wheelchair in the hall because she was unable to move it into her flat, she was told that she would have to move it or face moving out.
She said: “I phoned them up and I asked her ‘what about my wheelchair?’ and she said I would have to move out of my flat. She said that I would have to speak to the council about it. I was upset when she said that. It’s my flat and I have been here since 1972.
“I didn’t like the way she spoke to me. She wasn’t rude but she was just sharp. I know it’s my choice to live on the first floor but I say it’s my exercise, walking up and down the stairs.”
GreenSquare neighbourhood manager Jan Morse said: “We understand the frustrations of the residents at Pound Close and, where there are individual needs, we will work with residents to identify possible solutions outside of the communal areas.
"In this instance, we have offered to work with Mrs Turner to assess her needs and are discussing the possibility of creating additional safe storage areas, which conform to both building and safety regulations.”
Neighbour, Penny McCuskey, 66, was furious when she found out Mrs Turner had been told she might have to move out.
She said: “It’s ridiculous what they have told us is a fire risk. We had to get rid of the pot plants along the window sill because they are a fire risk. Are the firemen climbing up the walls now?”
Another resident, Philip Dunn, 36, was also shocked that he was told he would have to get rid of his pet cats because they also posed a fire risk.
Mr Dunn said: “They said that I had to get rid of the cats because they are a fire risk.
“People all over the country own pets and have them in their homes. I don’t know how they could pose a fire risk at all.”
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