Rethink signal over Great Yarmouth mobility scooter ‘prisoners’

A MOBLITY scooter standoff between Great Yarmouth Borough Council and some of its tenants has prompted signals of a re-think on the issue.

In recent weeks, leaflets have been distributed around council housing in Great Northern Close, Midland Close and Stephensons Close warning residents that communal areas must be left free from blockage - including mobility scooters.

The note was similar to one sent out in conjunction with the fire services last year which prompted an outcry from some, who parked their scooters outside their flats in the space and worried that they would be left “prisoners” in their own homes by the rule.

However, following a community housing board meeting last week, those affected will be consulted about a possible solution to the problem in an effort to look at resolving the issue.

The rule banning scooters will also not be enforced for the time being.

Borough council director of community housing Denis Gilbert had previously explained that the original leaflets were prompted by flat fires elsewhere in the country.

Regarding the result of last Wednesday’s meeting, he said: “We’re looking at agreeing a policy in respect specifically to do with mobility scooters within a flatted development.

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“We will consult tenants generally, and those who will be affected in the drawing up of policy. In the drawing up of mutually acceptable solution to the problem we will be looking at different alternatives.”

Any suggestions will be considered by officers, with concrete proposals expected to be presented to the housing board in July.

Mr Gilbert suggested that one of the solutions “may include providing alternative storage” for the vehicles, though he added that such a facility would likely have to be paid for in rent.

A number of those affected by the original clampdown pointed to the fact their doors were too narrow for the scooters to fit through, and that if left outside would likely be stolen or vandalised. They also insisted the scooters were not blocking the way.

Josie Simms’ husband Fred is treated daily by nurses for severe arthritis and cellulitis and was one of those left anxious by the leaflet.

The couple, who live in Great Northern Close, welcomed the news but remained cautious.

Grandmother Josie, who is in her 60s, said: “We were waiting for something to be done. He [Fred] expects someone to seize the scooter and we keep getting these leaflets.

“I feel better that they’re looking into it- at least someone is rattling the cage- and I would say to them where is he going to put it otherwise?

“If they hadn’t told us we could put the scooter there in the first place we couldn’t have taken this flat and if he can’t keep it I don’t know what we will do.”