Falkirk Council: Residents in high flats told if you can't manage the stairs then we'll move you

Elderly residents in Falkirk’s high rise towers have been told if they can’t manage the stairs when lifts break down the council will help them find another home.

A housing official made the claim after fed up tenants and homeowners living in the multi-storey blocks complained about the lifts continually being out of order.

An email sent to councillors on the issue was then forwarded to residents.

In it the council employee stated: “We have robust process and procedures in place, however, they do not and cannot cover every eventuality, therefore, we cannot guarantee the lifts will not breakdown and be offline in the future. We do promote high rise living for tenants over 50 which, in the main, works very well to provide a sense of security and community for our residents, however, there comes a time for some residents where high rise is no longer suitable accommodation.

High rise residents are fed up being stuck in their homes when lifts break down

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“During these recent issues at Belmont, and previously at Symon Tower, it has highlighted that we have a number of tenants that have mobility issues and depend fully on the lifts. Therefore, it may be their current housing no longer meets their needs, we would be happy to liaise with those tenants to provide Housing Options advice and assistance to help them access more suitable accommodation preventing any future concerns they may have around feeling stranded and dependency on lifts to maintain their independence.”

Caroline Wright, 72, who lives on the 14th floor of Breton Court, said: “Given there a 13 blocks of high rise flats mostly housing elderly people where and when would the required number of homes ever be available?

“Common sense should prevail and the lifts repaired promptly and to work efficiently and let the elderly residents have access and egress with no worries.”

She said that it would be impossible for her and many others living in the high rise to climb up or down the 200-plus stairs, adding that the issue with the lifts had deteriorated since the work was carried out to allow them to stop on every floor.

Along with other residents living in the Finistere Avenue block, Mrs Wright is angry that they had to spend last weekend stuck in their homes when the lift again broke down.

It was out of operation from lunchtime on Saturday until Monday morning when an engineer arrived to sort the problem.

He told residents that he only turned out at weekends if someone was stuck in the lift.

June Galbraith said: “I have lived in Breton Court for nearly 40 years and never known a situation like this. It is totally unacceptable.”

A Falkirk Council spokesperson said: “We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused due to the recent issues with the lifts at Breton Court.

“Our contractor did not prioritise our requests due to a call handling error – to deal with this and to minimise any future breakdowns and delays, we have arranged a meeting with them to discuss these recent issues and review our service and maintenance contract.

“The lifts were not replaced as is being suggested – they were adapted so they can stop at all floors.

“Ordinarily our contractor responds quickly to faults however it can problematic sourcing parts etc.”