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CityWest Homes: Lisson Grove pensioners' fury at broken door fiasco

PUBLISHED: 11:45 10 January 2019

Residents Margaret Day-Jones, Len Brooks, Derek Tobias, Liz Lohani, Iluminada Braid and Bernadette McCarthy are fed up with

Residents Margaret Day-Jones, Len Brooks, Derek Tobias, Liz Lohani, Iluminada Braid and Bernadette McCarthy are fed up with "dangerous, difficult and insecure" doors at Verney House on the Lisson Green Estate.

Archant

Leaseholders at Verney House in Lisson Grove are furious at a string of problems with communal areas in the CityWest Homes building.

Bernadette McCarthy, 87. struggles to open one of the heavy fire doors which is supposed to open automatically, but doesn't. Picture: Polly HancockBernadette McCarthy, 87. struggles to open one of the heavy fire doors which is supposed to open automatically, but doesn't. Picture: Polly Hancock

One entrance door has not been working for eight weeks, another security door doesn’t open, while broken lifts are leaving elderly people “almost stranded”.

The angry residents said the broken entrance door had made them feel unsafe.

Bernadette McCarthy, 87, told the Wood&Vale; “The main entrance doors haven’t been working for weeks. I’ve complained, CityWest just say they are waiting for a part.”

The door which has not been shutting for weeks was temporarily repaired on Monday, after this newspaper had contacted CityWest Homes.

Verney House resident Darren Smith explains how the broken door has slammed so often and so hard it has made the doorframe loose. Picture: Polly HancockVerney House resident Darren Smith explains how the broken door has slammed so often and so hard it has made the doorframe loose. Picture: Polly Hancock

However one resident says the fix doesn’t solve the problem.

Darren Smith explained: “The door’s been slamming so hard it has broken the frame. Kids have been getting their fingers jammed. It’s been eight weeks now, it’s not been shutting properly so people have been getting in.

“You can see it’s not opening as far as it should now, and the frame’s damaged.”

Another leaseholder, Mrs Yard, spoke of security concerns: “It’s the most used entrance, and while it’s been broken the seventh floor has been used as a toilet.”

The electric door to the corridor on which Bernadette and several other elderly people – including Len Brooks, 95, live – has broken so that it is no longer automatic or power-assisted.

“This makes entering and exiting incredibly difficult – especially if you use a trolley.” Bernadette said.

Westminster housing chief Cllr Andrew Smith apologised to residents who he said “aren’t getting the service they deserve”, and said this exemplified why CityWest Homes was being brought in-house.

He added: “It’s clear that ordering the part to fix the door has taken too long and people have been let down.

“I’ve been reassured that action is being taken to sort this out and the council will review the matter to make sure lessons are learnt.”

The council also confirmed CityWest Homes staff would make sure no residents were stranded by lift problems, and would carry out checks to ensure rough sleepers did not return to the lobbies of the building.

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