Lisson Green pensioner’s automatic door deja vu as CityWest say vandalism problem fixed

Bernadette McCarthy, 87. struggles to open one of the heavy fire doors which is supposed to open aut

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

Bernadette McCarthy, 87, had thought her days of being stuck in the lobby of her Lisson Green home – separated from her own flat by a faulty fire door – were over.

But it appears to have been “fixed” in such a way that it was still too heavy for her to move when she tried it last week.

Less than a month after CityWest Homes corrected a fault with the door after the Wood&Vale had drawn attention to the issue, Bernadette found herself returning home with shopping and forced to wait in the lobby of Verney House for 15 minutes until a passer-by could help her into her own corridor.

CityWest dispatched a team to inspect the door any found it was technically in “full working order”, but have offered to meet residents to work out how to improve the situation.

Bernadette told this newspaper: “I reported this again in the morning at about 11. They told me there’d be someone there within an hour but that didn’t happen.

“I was stuck for 15 minutes. I just couldn’t get it to open – and had to wait for a young man from one of the higher floors to help.”

A spokesperson for Westminster City Council said: “The doors in question have been checked this week and they are in full working order following repair work earlier this month.”

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The spoksperson also confirmed that the town hall and its soon-to-be shuttered arms-length management company thought vandalism was to blame for the original trouble with the door.

They said: “We are aware that there has been a problem with vandalism, which we suspect is how the door at Verney House was damaged late last year.

“We are on the side of residents and will do all that we can to stop inconsiderate vandals from making people miserable and wasting both time and money.”

After CityWest had inspected the door, Bernadette told the Wood&Vale: “It seems to be better now, but it still unreliable.”

Westminster decided to bring its housing services back in house and end the operation of CityWest Homes late last year after almost two decades.

The decision was made in September before being rubber-stamped on October 15, after a litany of complaints were made and an independent report said “a culture change” was needed at CityWest.