Felixstowe: Health and safety gone mad say residents in mobility scooter row

SEVEN mobility scooter riders have been left fuming today – claiming “ridiculous” health and safety rules are making their lives a misery.

Housing officials have caused a right rumpus at a seafront block of flats after telling residents they must leave their precious mobility scooters outside.

Health and safety red tape has been blamed for the row – with risk assessors saying the scooters could be a fire hazard if parked indoors, even switched off and unplugged.

The residents, who rely on the scooters for their transport, are worried they could be stolen or go to wrack and ruin if left in the car park in all weathers.

They are livid at being told they can no longer leave them out of the way under a stairwell, where they have been kept for the past decade.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous – health and safety gone mad,” said resident Teresa McNeill, 75, of Tacon Court, Sea Road, Felixstowe,

“The landlords have removed the plug sockets under the stairs so we couldn’t put them on charge there, and they are right out of the way so no one would fall over them.

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“Now they have told us we cannot leave them there any more, and they must be left in the car park all the time, where new charging points have been put.

“They could be stolen and the batteries could crack in the cold. Some of the people here can hardly walk and they need to have their scooters indoors as close to them as possible.”

She said a scooter could be squeezed into the lift and taken to a person’s flat, but she had to have a door removed and two wardrobes taken away to get hers in.

Bill Carne, 91, a former firefighter, said: “I really cannot understand this fuss at all – if the scooters are not charging, they are not a fire hazard.”

Rhoda Carver, 69, said: “I tried to get insurance for my scooter but was told it had to be locked away, not parked outside.”

Ian Millea, maintenance surveyor for Cotman Housing Association, said an independent company carried out a health and safety risk assessment, liaising with the fire service, and said the scooters would be a fire hazard if left under the stairwell.

“We are trying to go through it with everybody individually to see what we can do to make it better, but we have to act on the advice to ensure everyone’s safety,” he said.

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