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Disabled man from Isle of Grain left housebound after waiting for car repair for four months


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A disabled man says he's been "trapped" in his home after his car has taken more than four months to be repaired.

Stanley Bland lives on the Isle of Grain but has not travelled further than the bottom of his driveway since the end of December.

Stanley explains the toll this has taken on his life

The 67-year-old has suffered from lymphoedema for the past three years which means water is retained all over his body, causing extreme swelling.

Due to his condition, the retired courier has trouble walking long distances so relies on his mobility scooter to get about when outdoors.

He also has a medically adapted car to meet his needs which he leases through Motability – a charity which helps people lease a vehicle with their disability benefit – every three years.

The Vauxhall Vivaro-Elife has a specially-designed hoist in the back to help Stanley get in and out and highly adjustable seats so he can sit comfortably.

Stanley says he is trapped at home
Stanley says he is trapped at home
The damage caused to the door. Picture: Stanley Bland
The damage caused to the door. Picture: Stanley Bland

He uses the electric car to store his mobility scooter in when he is not using it due to a lack of space in his house in Green Lane.

Although he does not drive the vehicle due to his medication, his wife Nicola does and it means they can go out together.

But after an accident involving a bollard just off City Way, Rochester, on Christmas Eve which caused "minor" damage to the door, the car was sent to a garage to be fixed – with his scooter in tow.

He was originally told it would take two weeks which was manageable but after waiting for more than a month, Stanley chased the garage and found out it had closed down.

His insurance company RSA then transferred the car into another garage, which again after months of waiting for the supposed quick-fix went bust.

Stanley Bland relies on the car and scooter to get about
Stanley Bland relies on the car and scooter to get about
Stanley currently is not aware what has happened to is car. Picture: Stanley Bland
Stanley currently is not aware what has happened to is car. Picture: Stanley Bland

Stanley said: "We are not talking about something unimportant, we are talking about a car. It is very important. I have been four months without any transport.

"It is a strain on me. It has totally paused my life for the last few months. I am literally isolated."

Due to the loss of the car and scooter he has had to miss out on family events such as his niece's christening because he has no means of getting there.

"I got a pair of trainers for Christmas and have never used them," he added. "They have still got the tags on. I have got shoes here that I cannot even wear.

"I have not been anywhere. I have my own little world here. It is like being in jail. I am practically stuffed."

The space on his drive has laid bare since January
The space on his drive has laid bare since January

Having felt "trapped and stranded" for four months, Mr Bland finally had his car delivered back to him this week - only to find it was damaged.

"I don't want to accept it," he said. "There's a panel missing under the steering wheel, another panel is loose and the bonnet won't close."

"It's crazy," said Mr Bland, who is now trying to arrange for the insurance company to complete the work. "I wanted my car back and four months later it's here, but it's damaged. It's another page in the story."

He said the insurance company did send a hire car but it was unsuitable for his needs. It has also offered to pay for taxis and to pay out compensation but only for local journeys.

An RSA spokesman said: “We’re really very sorry for the problems Mr Bland has experienced with his claim. This has fallen well below the standards our customers expect of us and those we set ourselves.

"Mr Bland’s mobility scooter has been returned to him but, unfortunately, while most of the repair work to his car has been completed, some minor repairs are still required. We are working with the repairer to ensure that these final repairs are made swiftly so that Mr Bland’s car can be returned to him as soon as possible.

"We are also conducting a full review of Mr Bland’s complaint and will be offering him compensation for the disruption caused, while also taking steps to learn from the mistakes made in this case.”

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