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Pensioner told to remove mobility scooter from Queens Mews in Deal


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A woman fears her sick father will be stuck inside after he was told to remove his mobility scooter from his retirement development.

Brian Freshwater, 86, a retired industrial model maker, moved to Queens Mews in Deal last summer and has been keeping his scooter outside his flat ever since, using a cable to charge it out the window.

Brian Freshwater uses his scooter to visit the seafront, shops and doctors
Brian Freshwater uses his scooter to visit the seafront, shops and doctors

But his daughter, Sally, says the owners of the flats, Anchor, have told Mr Freshwater they have a 'no scooter policy' and that he has until today (Wednesday) to remove it from the site.

Ms Freshwater, also from Deal, said: "At no time during the process of buying his flat were we informed that he was not able to keep a mobility scooter on site.

"When we viewed it, other residents had scooters there.

"During my father’s interview as a prospective resident this was not highlighted. Had it flagged as an issue we would not have purchased this flat.

"We approached the building's owner, Anchor, for permission to instal an external charging point for his scooter and the discussion has gone from possible options for setting up a charging point to the most recent letter stating that he has 14 days to remove his scooter from the site!

Mr Freshwater outside his flat
Mr Freshwater outside his flat

"So rather than enabling him to live independently for as long as possible, they are effectively disabling him and stopping him from enjoying the town that he loves.

"This hardly follows the ideals that the company outline on their website."

Grandfather of five Mr Freshwater, who is awaiting an operation following a cancer diagnosis, uses his scooter to visit the shops and the doctors, and also to travel to the seafront where he enjoys fishing.

Ms Freshwater added: "Dad has been physically better since moving to the sea. But he really could do without the stress and worry about his mobility issues on top of his health problems.

"Without the scooter he would have to rely on taxis and family to get around."

"Rather than enabling him to live independently for as long as possible, they are effectively disabling him..."

Ms Freshwater says she would also like to see better storage facilities on site for the scooter, as well as the possibility of setting up external charging points.

Her father's current scooter is too big to fit in his flat, and the owners have raised concerns over fire safety as it is currently charged through a window.

Ms Freshwater, 63, adds: "I absolutely agree that it is not ideal or advisable for my father to charge his scooter using an extension lead through the kitchen window and we are seeking guidance on a safe alternative to this.

"Various options have been suggested for safe charging but none have been discussed in a constructive manner that moves forward.

"Perhaps Anchor should be addressing the fact that they 'do not have an area suitable for scooter storage or charging’. In the near future the issue of rechargeable electric cars is going to have to be addressed.

Ms Freshwater has also instructed a lawyer to look into the issue.

Kate Stimpson, area manager for Queens Mews, said: “We know that having mobility scooters can be of great benefit to many older people.

"However, we need to make sure the safety of residents, colleagues and visitors isn’t compromised when storing mobility scooters at a location.

“As outlined in our Scooter Policy which, all residents are informed of prior to moving in, in order to keep communal areas safe, residents are not able to charge and store their mobility scooters in communal areas.

"Residents can safely charge and store their mobility scooters inside their property.

"We’re helping the resident to find an alternative smaller scooter which he will able to charge and store inside his property."

Ms Freshwater says a smaller scooter would not fit in the flat due to its layout.

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