Disabled grandmother told by council:‘You have to move out or sell your scooter’

Barbara now has to keep the scooter outside as there are no facilities to store it, leaving it vulnerable to theft
Barbara now has to keep the scooter outside as there are no facilities to store it, leaving it vulnerable to theft

A disabled grandmother has been told by council chiefs that she must sell the mobility scooter she relies on to get around – or move out.

The ultimatum came after Barbara Hamilton bought the scooter without first asking for an assessment to be carried out by Dacorum Borough Council.

Barbara can no longer use her mobility scooter, as she cannot bring it inside to charge it

Barbara can no longer use her mobility scooter, as she cannot bring it inside to charge it

It’s now saying that – due to new health and safety rules – she can no longer keep the scooter at her home in Phyllis Courtnage House, Hemel Hempstead as it poses a fire risk, and it can no longer give her the required assessment.

The 74-year-old has lived in her upstairs flat in the sheltered complex for five years, and already has other disability equipment in her home.

Barbara suffers from fibromyalgia which means she cannot walk far, suffers with pain and has to use the mobility scooter to get around.

She said: “I need it. I don’t want to be trapped inside. I bought it because I wanted to ride to the park, get some fresh air and talk to people.”

Barbara Hamilton standing in the space where she used to keep her mobility scooter before new health and safety rules were introduced

Barbara Hamilton standing in the space where she used to keep her mobility scooter before new health and safety rules were introduced

“It’s discrimination, the people here need these facilities. The reason I moved here is because I knew I would need a mobility scooter in years to come, and there were already two here so I didn’t think it would be a problem.”

There are no facilities to store the scooter under cover, so Barbara has no choice but to leave it outside and vulnerable to thieves.

Andy Vincent, group manager for tenants and leaseholders at Dacorum Borough Council, said: “Motorised mobility scooters form a fire hazard – they are a trip hazard and inhibit the ability of the fire service to rescue sheltered residents and they also have the potential to combust when being stored.”

A council representative was due to visit Barbara on July 14 to discuss the situation, but never arrived. Despite several phone calls, no date has been set for a revisit.

The council confirmed it will build facilities to house mobility scooters at Phyllis Courtnage House, but was unable to give an exact date.