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Shepway couple stuck on ground floor by stairlift red-tape

A disabled couple say bureaucracy has left them struggling to reach the first floor of their home.

Christian Rolfe and Nancy Jagdev both have multiple sclerosis and experience severe mobility problems.

And now a broken stairlift at their Shepway home is adding to their troubles.

Nancy Jagdev and Christian Rolfe whose stairlift has broken
Nancy Jagdev and Christian Rolfe whose stairlift has broken

Engineers from lift servicing company Apex were called out 12 times to make repairs before declaring the structure was beyond repair and needed replacing.

However, the couple, who both have to use mobility scooters when they go out, are now caught up in a three-way wrangle between the lift company, Golding Homes, which owns the house, and an occupational therapist.

Until it’s resolved, they are having to crawl up the stairs or be pulled up.

Mr Rolfe, 41, said: “There is no cure for our condition which will get progressively worse. We will never be better in the future than we are now.

“We both frequently fall over, but until now at least it wasn’t on the stairs. Now we are just waiting for the worst.”

"A stairlift is not a luxury for us, it’s a necessity" - Nancy Jagdev

Miss Jagdev, 45, said: “A stairlift is not a luxury for us, it’s a necessity.”

The couple moved to Dorset Way in December when Mr Rolfe applied for a larger adapted property to accommodate them and his two teenage children, having both previously lived in ground-floor apartments.

He said: “It was ideal because it already had a wet room and a stairlift.”

Despite their disabilities, they have been told their situation will be reviewed to see if they qualify for a grant to pay for a new lift.

A spokesman for Golding Homes said: “An independent lift consultant will visit this week to provide a detailed report, because the occupational therapist assigned to reviewing this matter has advised that the Apex statement is not sufficient to justify the replacement of the stairlift by a grant and has requested we provide a detailed justification as to why it is beyond economical repair.

“In the meantime we will be contacting the residents to discuss installing a wash basin in the downstairs toilet.”

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