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Residents of seven-storey Ilford block face four months without a lift

PUBLISHED: 15:41 19 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:41 19 March 2020

Victor Court in Ilford. Picture: Google Maps

Victor Court in Ilford. Picture: Google Maps

Google Maps

Residents of a seven-storey block of flats in Ilford will be left without a lift for four months while it is replaced.

The Recorder has seen a letter sent to a resident at Victor Court by Swan Housing Association, which manages the building in Roden Street.

It is written by Swan’s assistant director of neighbourhoods, and reveals that a new lift will be installed.

The letter admits that there have been a total of 46 breakdowns of the current lift and 18 maintenance visits since 2015.

The Recorder has also seen a log sheet for the lift, which details that engineers have been called out to it at least seven times since March 9.

A resident at Victor Court said: “It is impacting on everyone, not just me. Everything is very difficult.”

The Recorder has reported on stories already this year concerning issues with the Victor Court lift.

Just last month, we wrote how residents were told they may have to stay in hotels after a serious malfunction in the lift, while in January disabled residents were forced to move into temporary accomodation after the lift broke down on New Year’s Day.

According to the letter, the project to replace the lift will take 37 weeks.

The first four weeks will be for preparation for drawings and measurements and then 16 weeks for the manufacture of the lift.

There will then be the four month period where residents will be without a lift at all and a Swan spokesman said: “It is unavoidable that there will be a period where there is no lift at the property.

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“It is estimated that there will be a period of two weeks whilst the existing lift is removed with a further 14 weeks whilst the new lift is installed.”

There will then be a week for testing the new lift.

The resident at Victor Court, who has children, said he is “anxious” about the time without a lift and questioned how long the replacement will take.

He said some people in the block use wheelchairs, some residents struggle to climb the stairs and claimed there are up to 25 families who have to use buggies for small children.

“There is only one lift, it’s not like there are loads and loads of lifts. In two weeks, China built a hospital. I do not know why they take four weeks to plan and design.”

Swan hosted a drop-in surgery for residents last month and held another meeting about the lift earlier this month. The letter says a further meeting will be arranged with residents in the next few weeks to discuss the lift replacement.

The housing association confirmed in a statement to the Recorder that they have told residents the lift will be replaced “as soon as possible”.

A spokesman said any required components for the new lift can be sourced locally in future, rather than from Europe, which will “significantly reduce the likelihood of breakdowns and minimise delays to replace any parts in years to come”.

“Swan’s priority is the safety and wellbeing of our residents. We have explained to residents that this is not a standard lift shaft, therefore the lift has to be designed and then built and as such we are dependent on the lift contractors to confirm the likely replacement date.

“However, it is our intention to try to keep the existing lift running up to the period where it is removed and replaced.”

The housing association has agreed not to charge residents their lift maintenance fee for the time the lift has been out of service this year and will give residents an initial £250 as a goodwill payment for inconvenience caused.

“Those residents who require further support at this time will continue to be offered assistance via our London Neighbourhoods team,” the spokesman added.

Swan operates across east London and Essex and manages more than 11,000 homes.

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