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‘Council’s scooter ban could leave my dad housebound’

‘Council’s scooter ban could leave my dad housebound’

by Henry James (July 2016)

THE daughter of a Skelmersdale man with a chronic lung disease says he could be left housebound if West Lancs Council force him to move his mobility scooter from a communal area at his home.

Sixty-year-old William Mort suffers from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) which frequently leaves him breathless and relies on the scooter to get about.

Currently he stores the scooter in a communal area at his home in Firbeck Court but he has received a letter from the council calling on him to move it from there in order to comply with fire regulations.

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) order of 2005, which came into force in October 2006, it is essential that all communal areas are free of obstructions and combustible materials.

This means that residents must not store any items within the communal areas, including communal entrances, hallways, stairwells, landings and drying areas of blocks of flats.

However, Mr Mort’s daughter, Katherine Rimmer is furious about the order, saying her dad has also been told he can’t keep the scooter in his flat and describing it as an infringement of his human rights.

She said: “The council has told my dad he must take the scooter away, it’s like they are taking his human rights away.

“He is going to be housebound, dad will be virtually shut away if he can't keep the scooter.

“It’s the only way he has of getting out of the flat because he has COPD and struggles with his mobility.

“He also has mental health issues and being able to get out and about on his scooter helps to keep him sane.”

In response a council spokesman stated: “In order to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service has instructed the council that mobility scooters must not be stored in any part of the communal area of blocks of flats.

“Scooter batteries can be highly combustible and represent a danger to all residents of the block, and safe evacuation would be hindered in the event of a fire.

“We have requested that the scooter is removed from the communal area, in accordance with the advice we have received from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service.

“The council has never given permission for the scooter to be stored in the communal area. The owners of mobility scooters are responsible for the safe storage of their vehicles. The council is under no obligation to provide a storage area.”

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