Residents in sheltered accommodation in Scunthorpe who faced losing their mobility scooters if they travelled at a speed of eight miles per hour have been given a reprieve after claiming they they would be left house-bound.
Ongo Homes wanted to ban class three mobility scooters being kept on the premises at Lincoln Court in the town for safety reasons. But following a letter of protest from the residents and intervention by Scunthorpe MP Nic Dakin, the Scunthorpe-based housing association has reversed it’s decision.
Carol Simmons, 68, who has lived at Lincoln Court for six years, said in January this year she had paid £2,000 on hire-purchase for a mobility scooter after being given permission by her landlords. Mrs Simmons explained: “Since then we have been told keeping the mobility scooters on site is a fire risk. We have all got our own insurance cover. We feel a ban would take away our independence and leave us house bound, relying on others to do our errands. We feel we have been discriminated against.”
Fellow resident Broderick Woodall, 59, added: “I moved into Lincoln Court in March on the understanding I could bring my scooter with me.” Mr Woodall said as he weighed more than 24-stone he had to use a class three mobility scooter to get around.
Mr Dakin. having met the residents, said: It was very clear that these proposals would have a significantly detrimental impact on the mobility and independence of residents. I have already made contact with Ongo and as a result of that they have committed to have an internal review to address these concerns going forward. I look forward to the outcome of those debates and certainly hope that a suitable outcome can be achieved.”
Helen Wright, Ongo Homes support service manager, commented: “We are having ongoing discussions with the tenants, staff, our local MP and fire safety reps to work on a way to resolve the issue around mobility scooter storage. At the moment we are looking into different options for the various sized mobility scooters to ensure we are meeting the needs of our tenants whilst keeping the safety in the scheme a priority.”
She continued: “All of our retirement living schemes have external mobility scooter stores and we’re looking at the option of mobility scooters (including class three) being allowed to be stored in the store, providing there is space. We are also exploring the idea of having a maximum size of mobility scooter to be allowed in the stores. We will be seeking external advice on a suitable maximum size to set.”
Helen added: “We can accommodate scooters without compromising the safety of our tenants, we always will. We will continue to consult and discuss with our tenants around this issue to resolve the problem.”