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Broken lift leaves pensioners stuck - for weeks

Residents living in Millfield Court in Peterborough - a four-floor building with assisted living accommodation for pensioners - have not had use of a working lift for over six weeks. 
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Around 40 people reside in Millfield Court in Dogsthorpe, an assisted living facility for pensioners and elderly people run by Anchor Anchor Hanover Group - provider of specialist housing and care for older people in England. 

But for the last six weeks residents have complained that the only lift serving the four floors of the building has been playing up, preventing them from using it and since last Friday (January 7), it has been completely out of order. Residents use wheelchairs and mobility scooters and find climbing stairs challenging due to their health needs. 

This has caused some residents like Caroline who is 80-years-old with mobility issues from leaving her flat for nearly four weeks, even for a doctor’s appointment.  

Last week, over a dozen residents including Carol, Barry, Lorraine, Doug, Carol, Euli and Sandra shared concerns with Peterborough Matters and said, they feel “let down” by the housing association. 

They complained of being stuck inside the lift for over an hour, after it broke down while they were using it. 

Over the past few days, they have had to rely on the fire services to rescue them out of the lift, while waiting for an engineer to come and have a look. 

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The residents say the housing association send out engineers to fix the problem but it’s “never quite fixed” and the lift breaks down again just hours after the engineer's visit - this has been ongoing for nearly two months now, leaving the residents frustrated. 

Speaking to Peterborough Matters, the residents said: “The lift covers all four floors. But it has been having problems all of last year. About two, three of us have been injured in the lift. 

“Engineers are coming out every day because the lift is breaking down every day. He (engineer) gets it working but it breaks down again the next day and this has continued. In-fact this was the situation all over Christmas.

“It’s worn out. We have mobility issues. Three of here live on the top floors and there are 48 steps. It’s very difficult. 

“The lift has apparently had some new parts in it over the month but it keeps breaking down. 

“Our site manager is off sick because she got stuck in the lift and has injured herself and now we don’t see anybody here – we have been left on our own. 

“What we feel like is that Anchor is not listening to us and it’s like they don’t care. 

“Our rubbish bins are on the first floor. They have to be brought down and they are full.  

"Caroline has been stuck in her flat for four weeks now. We have been helping her with her chores like the washing and going to the bank. When we told Anchor about her situation - they (Anchor) suggested we try and carry her down the stairs!

“An engineer came on Christmas Eve and sorted it and said it would last 'three or four days' and he was right. It broke down after four days again. 

“We have made phone calls to Anchor head office, the call-centre, to different people so it’s going to as many different departments in the hope someone will listen to us, but it’s like talking to that concrete wall next to you.

“The fire services have come out nearly everyday now trying to rescue us out of the lift. I guess they are fed up with it all too now. We are very disappointed with the way we have been treated."

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I went up to Caroline’s apartment on the first floor to speak to her. She said: “I have to rely on others- to do my washing downstairs, or go to the bank or get groceries. I am literally stuck. It’s not just the disability. People who are here have other issues too like Parkinsons, there is one person with a pacemaker, with cancer – So, what's going on? Why is the lift not being fixed?

“I am having to cancel to my doctor's appointments. I had an ulcer that I had to get dressed at the surgery but I can’t do that anymore. They had to send a nurse out. Something has to be done.

“They were discussing a possibility of a chair lift but that’s no good to me because I have a mobility scooter. 

“I am stuck here- I used to go out almost every day, to see my friends, get my shopping but I can’t now. 

“I was also trapped in the lift for about 45 minutes. They had to get firemen out to rescue me, so it’s just not fair. Something needs to be done soon. We need a new lift."


The properties are rented out by these residents, some of whom have lived here for nearly 10 years. They pay service charge in addition to the rent of their flat but it can vary from the size of the apartment. On average, the service charge is a £125 for a one-bedroom apartment each month. 

Meanwhile, Anchor has apologised for the inconvenience causing the residents at Millfield Court and said they are looking at repairing the lift as soon as possible. 

Since our visit residents have received a letter from Anchor informing them that they are looking into installing a temporary chair lift.

Sarah Millier, area manager for Millfield Court said: “We are aware of the matter and our maintenance contractor was immediately informed and will repair the lift as soon as possible when the replacement parts are delivered. 

“In the meantime, we are working with residents to understand what additional support they need and are installing a chair lift at the location. 

“We apologise for the inconvenience this has caused residents and are working hard to resolve the matter.”