ELDERLY Lyneham resident Doris Turner is celebrating after housing company GreenSquare backed down from threats to throw her out of her own home.
Earlier this month the housing association said that unless the 91-year-old moved her collapsible wheelchair from under the stairs in the communal hall she might have to find somewhere else to live.
But in a U-turn GreenSquare has arranged with Doris that she can keep her wheelchair and other mobility supports, provided that it is fixed to the wall.
She said: “I’m very relieved that we’ve reached an agreement because it’s something I have been thinking about. It’s been on my mind.
“I’m very pleased because I was worried I might have to move and now I don’t have to.
“Coming down the stairs to get the chair is my exercise, you see, so I am glad I can still keep it under the stairs.”
In February all the residents in the block of flats in Pound Close, Lyneham, were asked to clear out their belongings from the communal areas or risk seeing them binned after a fire risk assessment.
Doris’ wheelchair fits neatly into a space under the stairs which nobody uses, but when she spoke to GreenSquare about leaving it in the hall because she was unable to move it into her flat, she was told that she would have to move it or face moving out.
She said: “I phoned them up and I asked her what about my wheelchair and she said I would have to move out of my flat.
“I was upset when she said that. It’s my flat and I have been here since 1972. I didn’t like the way she spoke to me. She wasn’t rude but she was just sharp.
“I know it’s my choice to live on the first floor but I say it’s my exercise, walking up and down the stairs. It keeps me fit and if I didn’t have that I might not be able to walk at all.”
Jan Morse, neighbourhood manager at GreenSquare, said that the conversation had been a misunderstanding and that mobility aids were an exception to an otherwise zero-tolerance policy on communal areas.
She said: “There was a misunderstanding but I don’t think it was Doris’ fault that it happened and I have apologised on behalf of GreenSquare.
“GreenSquare takes its fire safety responsibilities seriously and we constantly review our policies to ensure the safety of all residents. In order to comply with fire regulations, we’re required to take steps to ensure that the communal areas in our properties are clear at all times.”