Pensioner slams 'dangerous' Plumstead sheltered housing

Pensioner slams 'dangerous' Plumstead sheltered housing

Pensioner slams 'dangerous' Plumstead sheltered housing

Pensioner slams 'dangerous' Plumstead sheltered housing

Pensioner slams 'dangerous' Plumstead sheltered housing

Pensioner slams 'dangerous' Plumstead sheltered housing

First published in News
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A retired Royal Navy seaman has accused Greenwich Council of getting rid of its best sheltered housing accommodation and forcing pensioners to live in "dangerous" sites like his own.

Michael Brown, 71, says windows at Plumstead's Strand Court are rotting, the water is permanently hot, doors are too small to fit wheelchairs through and "spikes" on the wall where fire hoses once hung from are an accident waiting to happen.

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Meanwhile, the council has gone ahead in recent years with decommissioning seven sheltered housing schemes across the borough, promising repairs on those remaining.

Mr Brown, who served with the Royal Navy in Borneo and Malaya, now hopes to force the council to take him to court by not allowing them to access his property for a fire safety check.

He said: "They've moved a lot of older people here in their 80s and 90s because they've closed down other schemes within the borough. There's no question that the places they closed down were in better condition.

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"The place that I live in has windows that are actually at the point of collapse. They should have been renewed years ago. When it rains, rooms fill up with water.

"All the doors and the windows are made out of wood and they're so old that in some places it looks like the glass could actually fall out of the frame. That has happened to some people already."

He went on: "In some of that flats you can't get a wheelchair through anymore. Last week, a lady was taken ill and the emergency services couldn't get her wheelchair through the door. They had to pull her out the house on a blanket. It's dangerous."

Mr Brown, who describes himself as the "toyboy" of the 61-flat site, said: "If you've got people that live here that are in excess of 90-years-old and they complain, because some of them are in early stages of dementia, they're not able to go through the formalities. And, anyway, the people above our warden won't respond."

A modernisation scheme approved last year is set to see Strand Court improved, but work is not scheduled to begin until 2017.

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A spokesman for Greenwich Council said: "The safety and well-being of our tenants is a top priority for the Royal Borough and this is particularly important where older residents may have specific health or other needs requiring additional support.  This commitment is a key driver in our plans to significantly upgrade supported and sheltered housing for older residents.

"As part of a major Fire Safety Improvement Programme outdated fire hose reels have been removed.  We are confident that existing equipment does not provide an on-going risk, but will visit and take any further remedial steps necessary. 

"The works to replace the windows have been programmed to start in October.  However, emergency repairs of any kind should be reported and will always be prioritised.  Strand Court residents can move freely throughout the building and all doors are fully DDA compliant, having benefited from an upgraded within the last 18 months.

"The Royal Borough uses property guardians to ensure the on-going security of decommissioned blocks while the full redevelopment programme continues.  The buildings remain within council control and ownership."  

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