Scooter shelter victory for disabled Hemel Hempstead grandmother

Barbara's scooter has to remain outside and unused until the new shelters are built
Barbara's scooter has to remain outside and unused until the new shelters are built

A sheltered housing scheme in Hemel Hempstead will have a mobility scooter shelter built after a disabled grandmother hit out at the lack of facilities on the complex.

The Gazette first published Barbara Hamilton’s story back in August, after Dacorum Borough Council told her she could not keep her scooter in the corridor at Phyllis Courtnage House, Highfield, due to new health and safety rules saying it posed a fire risk.

At the time, group manager for tenants and leaseholders Andy Vincent said: “Motorised mobility scooters form a fire hazard.

“They’re 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.”

There is now a planning application for a shelter – similar in appearance to a bus shelter – to be built on site at the Highfield scheme.

But Barbara, who lives alone, is still campaigning to be allowed to store her scooter inside.

She said: “It could take months to build the shelter, and at the moment I still can’t use my scooter. I need to bring it in to charge it up.

“Even if the new shelter is near the building, I’ve still got to get to it. What if it’s raining? It’s not the same as having your scooter right outside your door.

“The reason I moved here is because several people had scooters already, and the corridors were nice and wide.

“You put up with so many things, then you blow your top. I’ve had enough.”

The 74-year-old suffers from fibromyalgia, which leaves her unable to walk long distances.

A spokesperson from Dacorum Borough Council said: “Where possible, we are in the process of building fire-safe, secure sheltered storage areas at supported housing schemes.”

The council confirmed that shelters on schemes in Rice Close, Adeyfield, and Two Beeches, Grovehill, have been completed.

A shelter is currently being built at Cranford, Highfield, and planning permission is being sought for new shelters at Phyllis Courtnage House in Highfield,William Crook House in Chaulden, and Emma Rothschild House in Tring.