news

Faulty lift in new Brentford block forces young wife to carry disabled husband up stairs

Bianca Dodds said her "heart shattered" when they saw the lift had broken 

Thomas Dodds is 27-year-old wheelchair-user who emigrated from Cape Town, South Africa to London with his wife Bianca, 24, in February this year.

The pair moved into a new one-bedroom flat, on the second floor of the newly developed Market Place building, Brentford, which they chose for its step free access.

Thomas, a web developer and Bianca, a digital developer were drawn to the capital for its career prospects and high standard of wheelchair access.

But their dreams of a London life were shattered when the lift in their building first began breaking down in March.

Bianca said: "We came home one day late from work and saw this IED light on the lift which means that it's broken.

“It shattered our hearts because I knew then that I had to lift Thomas up two flights of stairs in order to get home into our flat and go to sleep.

Bianca and Thomas chose their flat for its step free access(Image: Frederica Miller)

She added: "Even with help from neighbours it's dangerous and really difficult to do."

Since March 19 the lift has broken down on 17 separate occasions and broke down fives times between May 5 and May 10.

The last time the lift broke down was on the evening of September 6.

Stannah is the company in charge of maintaining the lift and while it sends out engineers to fix the problem the Dodds often have to wait for hours before it's running again.

Thomas said: "When it breaks down we are left with few options.

“We can either find another place to stay or get residents to help us up or Bianca carries me up and down the stairs.

"I'm often late for work or miss appointments because of it and it's hard to socialise and go out and enjoy London nightlife when you're worrying if you're going to be able to get upstairs to bed later.

"Every engineer we've spoken to has given us a different reason for the problem.

Steep stairs in Brentford block

"First the guide rails were reinstalled, then they had to replace the battery back up, then there was dust blocking the sensors and the most ridiculous one was recently when they told us the lift was confused about what floor it was on so it turn itself off.

“I can’t see why they can’t fix the issue once and for all, it just doesn’t make sense to me.”

Bianca added: “It's our first home together and it's a brand new flat.

"It's unfair that we have basically been forced to move out just because they can’t fix the lift."

Stannah lift in brand new Brentford block(Image: Frederica Miller)

A Stannah spokesman said: "We are aware of the situation at The Market Building and recognise that the level of service our lift has offered has fallen below our usual standard.

"We can confirm there have been an excessive number of breakdowns of the lift at The Market Building, the vast majority of which were related to a single issue with the guides which have now been replaced.

"Unfortunately, the lift has since experienced a couple of unrelated breakdowns, including one on 6 September 2017, which is why we have scheduled a full technical review of the equipment.

"The lift is currently in service. We will be conducting a full review of the lift with expert engineers next week in order to prevent further issues.

"We will continue to monitor this situation very closely will treat any call outs from this address as a priority until we are satisfied the lift is performing at our usual standards.

"We offer our sincere apologies to the residents, the owners and management company for the frustration and inconvenience the poor performance of the lift has caused."

Keep up to date with the latest news from around the county via the free Get West London app.

You can set up your app to see all the latest news and events from your area, plus receive push notifications for breaking news.

Available to download from the App Store or Google Play for Android .

View full mobile page