Barkingside pensioner forced to sell mobility scooter after battle over step-free access drags on for months
PUBLISHED: 12:00 25 January 2019
A 71-year-old triple heart attack survivor was forced to sell his mobility scooter as a battle to have a step-free access installed outside his Redbridge Council home dragged on for nearly a year.
Barry Howe bought a mobility scooter in January last year to enable him to travel independently from his home in Fencepiece Road to the shops in Barkingside after he had a defibrillator installed in his chest in 2017.
But he told the Recorder he reluctantly “had to get rid of it” last month as, unable to carry it over the steps leading to his home, it sat gathering dust in his kitchen.
“I have been contacting [the council] since March last year,” said the life-long Redbridge resident.
“They keep saying they are looking into it but nothing happens.”
“I feel like I have been treated very poorly.”
Barry says that, following an assessment by an occupational therapist on January 5 this year, he was told “he didn’t meet the criteria” for step-free access because he was “not confined to a wheelchair”.
“But I can’t walk down the road because I have to keep stopping to catch my breath,” he said, having suffered three heart attacks in 2015.
He has had a special machine installed in his bedroom to enable hospital staff to monitor his heart rate, he said.
“By law [the council] has got a duty of care,” he said.
“But they are stopping me going out.”
He added: “When I do go out I have to take a cab to and from Barkingside which costs me £20 to £30 out of my pension every week which I can’t really afford.”
“If I had a mobility scooter I would be able to go out on my own.”
A council spokeswoman said: “After a second review on January 10 the occupational therapist recommended the provision of ramp access and is working with the relevant teams to determine ways to meet his identified needs.
“Mr Howe will receive the full results of the review once completed.
“We apologise to Mr Howe for any delay he has experienced with resolving this issue.”