A West London woman who has epileptic seizures has had to use stairs in her housing association block for four years as the lift has not worked the entire time she has lived there.

The resident of Chertsey Court in Mortlake said she feared her neighbour who also has seizures would fall over on the stairs and hurt herself.

The woman said she is one of multiple residents in the first block of Chertsey Court in Mortlake who have complained about the lift after it stopped working more than four years ago. 

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Lift in first block of Chertsey Court (flats 1-8)Lift in first block of Chertsey Court (flats 1-8) (Image: Charlotte Lillywhite)

When the Local Democracy Reporting Service visited the complex on Thursday morning (October 13), the lift in the first block had been replaced but wasn’t operational yet.

Tie, who did not wish to give her surname, lives on the third floor of the block and said the lift hadn’t worked for the entire four years she had been living there. The 25-year-old said the person who lived in her home before had to move out as she was disabled.

She said she had complained about the lift along with her neighbours as they were concerned for a 91-year-old resident on the top floor and their own safety.

She said: “I have epileptic seizures and the girl on top of me does, so us going down the stairs isn’t safe for us. So we had to put complaints in about it.” She raised concerns that her neighbour could fall while using the stairs and “injure herself”. 

Speaking about when she first moved in, she added: “Getting everything up the stairs was a pain… especially the sofa, cooker, fridge, everything. It was a pain. But the problem is, the thing we were more worried about was the guy on the top floor. Everyone put in complaints for  him.”

Richmond Housing Partnership (RHP) has now almost finished replacing four lifts in the complex and apologised for the work taking longer than it should have done.

RHP said in May it would replace lifts in the blocks, starting with the “out of service and most unreliable lifts”. RHP said the works would begin on the week of May 23, starting with the first two blocks, and each lift would take around 10 weeks to replace.

But Lib Dem councillor Tony Paterson said the works had ground to a halt with no explanation at Richmond Council’s housing committee meeting on October 3. He said residents should get “substantial compensation” and the issue was of “huge” concern.

He said the lift in the first block had been out of action for more than four years and the neighbouring block’s lift had not worked for four years too even though a 94-year-old resident lives on the top floor.

He said: “We campaigned on this. We finally got it sorted – promise made in April. The whole lifts were going to be replaced, two months for each replacement, two to be done at a time and then we suddenly found out a couple of months ago that the whole programme, although it began on the 21st May, has just ground to a halt and no explanation.”

He added: “These people’s lives have been ruined basically by being isolated up there for all that time.”

A spokesperson for RHP said maintaining and replacing the lifts at Chertsey Court had been a “key priority” for the housing association. The spokesperson said: “Unfortunately, the procurement of the project has been hit by industry skills and supply issues that have impacted the whole housing sector over the past few years, and we’re sorry that the work has taken longer than it should have done.

“We’re pleased to now be at a stage where we’re reaching the completion on our first four replacement lifts at Chertsey Court. We’ve kept our customers updated throughout the procurement and initial construction period with regular letters and attendance at virtual and on-site meetings, that directly address the questions and concerns we’ve been hearing from them.

“The safety of our customers is our number one priority so during this time we’ve ensured the right safety measures have been in place. We want to thank our customers for their patience and understanding throughout this process and we will continue to encourage their feedback as we always do.”