Kirkcaldy residents ‘trapped’ in their homes during 12-week lift replacement

Isabel Thomson and neighbour Gordon Collins
Isabel Thomson and neighbour Gordon Collins

Residents in an eight-storey block of flats on Kirkcaldy Esplanade say they have become trapped in their homes as work to replace a lift is taking 12 weeks to complete.

And they say they can’t understand why the work is taking so long.

Cllr Cameron

Cllr Cameron

Householders at Forth View were offered alternative accommodation for the duration of the scheme – which began in mid January and included new windows, corridors resurfaced and balconies replaced – but could not face the upheaval of moving their belongings into unknown accommodation.

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Isabel Thomson, who has lived at Forth View since the flats were built 60 years ago, told the Press: “I’m 85 and, at my age, I couldn’t stand the thought of moving to a strange place and having to take my furniture with me.

“A housing officer came to speak to me about temporary accommodation, but she couldn’t tell me where it would be,” she explained.

“At that point I was able to manage the stairs, but all the traipsing up and down over the weeks and carrying my washing up and down to the laundry on the ground floor has taken its toll. Now my legs won’t work properly.

“My doctor gave me an injection for the pain in my knee, but my other leg is now not doing what it’s told and I can’t get out without a stick and I can’t manage the stairs.

“I have been relying on neighbours for help, and I have a friend who comes in two days a week, but I am struggling.

“There’s a lady who is due to give birth any day and she can’t manage the stairs either.

“I love going to the bingo every Saturday and a taxi comes and picks me up, but I don’t know when I’m going to be able to manage that again. I’m just lucky have good neighbours.”

They include Gordon Collins who said: “We’ve been keeping an eye on Isabel, but I feel really sorry for her and others who are trapped in their flats.”

Thomas Cape lives on the top floor with his wife who is in a wheelchair.

He said the time being taken to replace the lift was making their lives “a nightmare.”

“My wife hasn’t been out of the flat in six weeks,” he said. “With all the equipment she needs for her illness there’s no way we could go anywhere else.

“I’ve got cancer and a twisted spine, so we are both trapped in the flat and we can’t even go out on the balcony.”

Cllr Alistair Cameron said the work was on schedule to be completed in four weeks.

“This is a complete replacement of the lifts and it is a 
major job which everyone knew about in advance,” he said.

“Nobody has contacted me or any other councillor with any issue.

“If they have any, they can get in touch and I will be happy to pass these to housing and see how we can help.”

Andrew Wallace, area housing management lead officer, said: “We consulted extensively with residents before work started, explained how long the replacement would take and offered a range of support depending on their situation.

“I can reassure people that the improvement works are due to be completed on schedule.”