A 94-year-old great-grandmother says she has effectively been made housebound by stringent new borough council fire safety measures which prevent her from leaving her electric scooter outside her Melton flat.
Peggy Norfolk has been told to store her scooter in a common room at her apartment block off Thorpe End but she says it is almost impossible to access it there as she cannot walk unaided and it involves pushing through heavy fire doors to get to it.
It means she is unable to go shopping, visit the doctors or do other trips to the town which she says is upsetting for her.
The council say storing scooters in communal areas is a major fire risk and that they plan to build storage hubs for them which will be easier for residents to get to.
But Peggy, who has nine great-grandchildren, four grandchildren and two sons, said she plans to defy the ban on leaving her mobility scooter outside her flat because she is so dependant on it.
She told the Melton Times: “I just can’t see any sense to it at all and I’m going to refuse to do it.
“I’m 94-years-old and I can’t walk all that distance just to get to my scooter every day.
“I’m not the only one living here who feels like this and it’s just not good enough to treat elderly people like this.
“I’ve been having restless nights worrying about this because using my scooter is the only way I can keep my independence.
“Without it I can’t go shopping or get about at all.”
Indoors Peggy has to use a walker because her balance is poor and her grandson, James Moore, said it was impossible for her to get to the common room unaided to retrieve her scooter.
He said: “She’s been told that fire safety is being improved because of the Grenfell Tower fire and that there is a risk of the battery in her scooter exploding and causing a fire.
“She’s getting really depressed about all this because she just can’t get out on her own now.
“The council say they are going to build these storage sheds but they seem to be taking forever to do it.”
A Melton Borough Council spokesperson said: “Mobility Scooters have been identified as a key risk of fire in communal areas.
“As landlord, we need to consider the risk they may pose to other residents living in each block.
“The advice by fire risk assessors engaged by the council is clear that they cannot be stored in an area where the fire cannot be contained, and therefore the council has taken action to ensure mobility scooters are stored in designated areas.
“We understand that this decision will have an impact on our tenants and the way they have previously used their mobility scooters.”
The council say they have consulted with the Tenants Forum Executive Committee, community groups and individual families and tenants to find suitable solutions and one of them has been identified as a need to build ‘storage pods’ which are safe and accessible for all scooter users.
The spokesperson added: “The council will continue to work with individuals to provide additional support where it is needed or requested.
“Mobility scooters form part of a wider fire safety compliance programme being undertaken by the council, working to ensure tenants and visitors are safe and comfortable in their homes and the council approved the Mobility Scooter Policy and the Fire Safety Management Policy in January 2019.
“Tenants will continue to be made aware of any work being undertaken in their blocks and we thank them for their continued support and understanding.”