105-flat Southend tower block down to one lift

Residents living in a 15-storey Southend tower block are having to rely on one lift as contractors wait for parts to be delivered to repair a second lift.

South Essex Homes has apologised to residents living in the 105 flats in the Malvern tower block on the Queensway estate and have warned disabled residents they may have to be temporarily re-homed if the remaining lift goes out of action.

In a letter to residents, the housing association said: “Unfortunately the lift had to be taken out of service.

“Our lift maintenance contractor has attended site and attempted to undertake repairs, however, I regret to inform you that it is necessary to order some replacement components from the manufacturers.

“Once these have been received they will make an urgent visit to return and complete the repairs.

“In the interim period we are looking at ways we can assist our more vulnerable residents and ask those in need of additional assistance to contact their housing officer in the first instance to establish what extra measures may be put in place.”

Residents have been left furious by the delays and the impact of the broken lift. Mike Smith, who lives on the 14th floor of the block, said: “One lift is working but the other has sign up saying it is out of action. It broke down about ten days before Christmas. They are normally quite quick at fixing them but this time they are waiting for a part from Germany so we don’t know how long it’s going to take.

“Everybody now has to use the one lift and if that breaks down it will be a big problem. People rely on deliveries from supermarkets but they aren’t going to be climbing up flights of stairs. They had a similar problem in Chiltern recently.”

Commenting on the I Love Queensway Estate Facebook page, another resident added: “I’m in Malvern and I need to use a mobility scooter.

“I’ve been told by my advocate that if the other lift goes out of service then South Essex homes have to place me in temporary accommodation and it’s not acceptable to keep disabled people the way they are.”

A spokesperson for South Essex Homes, said residents with mobility scooters should contact them to assess their needs. They added: “We have had an ongoing issue with the lift, which we are addressing, however residents should be mindful that some categories of mobility scooter are too large and can damage our lifts.

“It is one of the reasons we ask residents to contact us before purchasing a mobility scooter. Aside from the lift issue, mobility scooters can cause a fire hazard and risk to other residents, particularly if they are stored in the shared communal areas, and we must comply with relevant fire regulations and the Buildings Safety Act.”

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter