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Gillingham couple living in Medway Council flat keep mobility scooter in their living room

A disabled couple are forced to keep a mobility scooter in their living room after being told parking it outside their own front door would be a fire hazard.

Malcolm and Cheryl Elliott have been battling with their housing officer for more than a year for permission to keep the vehicle outside their flat in Skinner Street, Gillingham.

In the meantime, they have to keep the scooter in their lounge because they have nowhere else to put it. Now they have been told the only solution is for them to move home.

Malcolm and Cheryl Elliot cannot park their mobility scooter outside the house
Malcolm and Cheryl Elliot cannot park their mobility scooter outside the house

Mrs Elliott, who uses the scooter because of problems with her hips, said: “That was the answer we got: ‘Well move then.’ But it is not that easy.

“We are both disabled and we cannot face the upheaval.”

The couple moved into the ground-floor flat in Tintagel Manor because they found it difficult to use the stairs in their old house and were struggling to pay the rent after the introduction of the so-called bedroom tax. They were on a waiting list for six months.

Mrs Elliott, 54, said: “This is our home. We don’t want to move again.

“We don’t see what is wrong with storing the scooter outside. It would be outside our own front door, not a communal entrance.

“Other people have lots of plant pots outside their front door – what is the difference?

“We feel like we are being discriminated against because we are disabled.”

The couple have to leave the scooter in their living room
The couple have to leave the scooter in their living room

Mr Elliott, who has the chronic lung disease COPD, said: “I am struggling to get the scooter inside. We have to keep it in the living room – there is nowhere else.

“Our hall isn’t big enough. If we left it there, we couldn’t get out.”

The 57-year-old added: “We tried to do everything properly and go through the proper channels to get permission to leave the scooter outside but this has been going on for over a year.”

A Medway Council spokesperson said: “We visited the property to assess the situation and officers concluded the place of storage of a mobility scooter, in close proximity to the next door neighbours flat in the communal area, would pose a health and safety risk.

"We have a clear fire risk management policy which has been developed for the safety of residents and by allowing the scooter to be stored in the proposed location we would contravene our policy.

"We must consider the wellbeing of all residents. We are happy to discuss a potential suitable alternative location with the residents concerned.

“While the property is deemed suitable for the individual, they have been advised of options to approach the council if they believe they need to be considered for rehousing.”

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