Residents demand action after lift failure at Broomhall sheltered housing block

Carol Frankland, 72, and Ray Hall, 60, are among the residents of Sunnybank in Broomhall, Sheffield, who have been forced to use the stairs because their lift is regularly broken.
Carol Frankland, 72, and Ray Hall, 60, are among the residents of Sunnybank in Broomhall, Sheffield, who have been forced to use the stairs because their lift is regularly broken.
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Residents of a Sheffield sheltered housing block have demanded action to fix a lift that has broken almost 20 times in the past two years.

People in their 60s, 70s and 80s living in the four-storey Sunnybank flats in Broomhall rely on the lift to get them to and from their homes.

But the lift is more than 20 years old, and regularly breaks down.

This means elderly people, some with health problems or disabilities, have to tackle the stairs if they want to go anywhere.

It has also left people trapped in the lift for hours at a time.

Some Sunnybank residents got so fed up after the latest breakdown this month that they formed an action group to demand the building’s owner, Places For People, replaces the lift.

John Hopkins, aged 68, has acted as a spokesman for the group. He said: “The lift was out of order for eight days most recently, and 19 times in the last two years. We are talking about a lift that’s unreliable and affecting everyone.”

John and his fellow residents highlighted several occasions where the broken lift had seriously affected people.

The most recent time, earlier this month, caused one resident to miss three hospital appointments. Another developed breathing difficulties after using the stairs and had to go to hospital.

One resident who relies on a wheelchair is unable to get out of her flat when the lift is broken.

And another with his arm in a sling after a hospital appointment was trapped in the lift for three hours at night when it broke down.

“There are some people in their 70s that refuse to use the lift because they are scared of being trapped,” said John.

A Places For People spokesman apologised for the inconvenience caused by the broken lift, and confirmed it was fixed on February 12.

The spokesman said a new lift would be fitted soon.

“The installation programme has been brought forward and planning is underway,” he said.

“We will update residents when the date for works to start has been confirmed.”

Temporary stairlifts are being fitted on all floors this week.

The spokesman added: “As a gesture of goodwill and to recognise the inconvenience caused, we will be providing residents with compensation in the form of one week’s rent, which will be credited to rent accounts in due course.”