Broken lift 'forces disabled Ripley man from home'

Richard Wood
Image caption Richard Wood has had to use a wheelchair all of his life

A disabled man said he had been forced to live in a caravan after a council-maintained lift at his home broke down.

Richard Wood, 68, from Ripley, said he had to be rescued when he became stuck in the lift last month.

Mr Wood said he paid Derbyshire County Council to maintain it but was told the lift needed replacing and he had to foot the £36,000 bill.

The authority said the lift was now "beyond economic repair" and has advised him to apply for a grant.

Wheelchair user Mr Wood, who said he had spent his life fighting for the rights of disabled people, said an external vertical lift was installed about 30 years ago.

However, on 9 August he was using the lift when it broke down and he became stuck.

He said when he contacted the county council about fixing it he was told it was not economical to do so and he would have to pay for a replacement.

Image caption The lift was installed at Richard Wood's home about 30 years ago

Mr Wood said without the lift he and his wife had had to leave their specially adapted home and live in a caravan.

"I've not had a shower for five weeks - the toilet facilities aren't adequate. It's profoundly distressing," he said.

Derbyshire County Council said it had managed to keep the lift working over the past 10 years.

"But it is now so old that parts are no longer available and we simply can't repair it," a spokesperson said.

"Our staff have also discussed cheaper, alternative alterations and... alternative accommodation which has been refused."

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