Elderly residents of Symon Tower in Falkirk hit out as broken lifts leave them stranded

Elderly residents in a block of flats in Falkirk have been left with only one working lift since July – which broke several times over the course of the weekend.

By Anna Bryan
Monday, 10th January 2022, 6:34 pm

One lift in Symon Tower - which is factored by Falkirk Council – has been out of service for nearly seven months, while the ‘working’ lift recently failed three times over the space of three days.

The local authority has apologised for the impact and is working with the contractor to resolve the issues a quickly as possible.

The issue was highlighted by Lesley Alexander, the daughter of a Symon Tower resident, after she visited her mother’s flat at the weekend while the lift was broken.

Upon entering the building, she said she saw a wheelchair-using resident who was unable to get to their first floor flat, and was trying haul themselves up the stairs.

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Ms Alexander came to their aid. They told her they were “upset and embarrassed because they couldn't manage alone”.

She said: "It's a disgrace that the mainly elderly residents of this block of flats are regularly, effectively either held prisoner in their own home, or stuck in the vestibule because the lift has broken again”.

Symon Tower in Falkirk has been left with only one working lift for nearly seven months due to a breakdown. Picture: Michael Gillen.

Another resident, who did not wish to be named, claimed one of her neighbours had experienced a heart complaint and was rushed to hospital, after climbing the stairs to his 13th floor apartment.

She said: “It’s just not acceptable. There are many people living here with health issues – we need to have access to and from our flats”.

According to her, six surrounding towers also owned by the council recently got new lifts put in, however, Symon Tower was not one of these.

Symon Tower, Falkirk

Another resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “We’ve been very patient with the council, but there has been a lack of communication from the departments concerned”.

She described her local councillor, Lorna Binnie, as “excellent”, and said that she “fought very hard” to get residents a meeting with the housing department.

However, she added: “We’re just really despairing at the attitude of the council as a whole”.

Residents have been told the council cannot repair one lift until they receive a part from Italy, which has been delayed due to Brexit and the pandemic.

A spokesman fir Falkirk Council said: “We offer our apologies for the inconvenience that residents have faced recently however we are working with our contractor to resolve this as quickly as possible.

There has been a problem in obtaining parts for the lift due to global supply issues. This particular lift requires a new gearbox which is on order and expected to be in place by the end of the month.

The other lift has been working throughout apart from the weekend of 7-9 January where faults were resolved on the same day.

We have kept residents up to date on progress of the work and will remind them that there is a private ambulance service we can offer should they need assistance.”

There are 14 floors to Symon Tower, and 84 flats in total.

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