Plans to build stairlift for disabled woman in Boreham Holt, Elstree, blocked

Carol Davies and her husband, Steven

Carol Davies and her husband, Steven

First published in News
Last updated
Borehamwood Times: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

A disabled woman has been left a “prisoner” in her own home after  some of her neighbours refused to allow her to build a stairlift in the communal area of her flat.

Carol Davies, of Boreham Holt, Elstree, was injured in a car crash in 2002 which left her with severe neck and back injuries, and had a dramatic knock on effects on her everyday life.

It now takes her around 15 minutes to get up and down the two flights of stairs to the flat she owns with her husband, Steven Davies.

Hertfordshire County Council agreed to pay for a stairlift to be installed last year.

But even though it would improve her quality of life, residents association Allum Lane Property Management have blocked the proposals as they fear it would devalue other properties.

Mrs Davies is now left cooped-up in her flat and has not been able to make it outside in around three weeks - last going out for a doctors appointment.

She said: “This stair lift would change my life. I feel so alone and isolated. I’d love to be able to go outside and live a normal life but it’s an impossible task. It’s degrading.

“The stairs are such a daunting prospect, they terrify me now. When I tackle them, it takes me at least two days to recover from tiredness. People don’t understand how sick I am.

“I am upset all the time at the moment. I feel depressed. This would give me a new degree of independence most people take for granted, but this situation has put our lives on hold.”

The 32 steps in the block are narrow and the couple, who have owned the flat since 1984, live on the top floor.

When they come to sell, they have promised to remove the stairlift – which will not be screwed into the wall.

They also believe it would actually increase the value of the property because many elderly people feel safer in a top-floor flat.

The majority of their neighbours support the idea of a stairlift - but a small minority blocked the plans.

The need for it is far more pressing as Mrs Davies ruptured her Achilles tendon in 2012, which is unlikely to heal. 

Although she has been advised to exercise her injured and painful foot, doctors have warned her to avoid stairs as it could end up doing more damage.

Mrs Davies fears the stress of moving from her flat would aggravate her mental and physical state. 

She nearly lost her life in the crash at notorious Stirling Corner in 2002 – but before then she was a “normal” woman who loved her job in a dental practice and played an active role in the cub scouts.

Doctors fought to save her life after she was was left with injuries to her neck, cheekbone, vertebrae and arm and today receives round-the-clock care.

Her social workers and Hertsmere MP James Clappison have all backed her campaign to install the stairlift – but so far her pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

She added: “Every day, I am in agony. I am tortured by the accident. My life gets harder and harder every day.

“I have lost many friends because I just don’t have the confidence anymore. Everything I do hurts. It’s emotionally draining – but being able to go outside would change my mental state so much.”

Mark Farber, the director of Allum Lane Property Management, who made the decision, declined to comment.

Comments (7)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

7:47pm Tue 15 Apr 14

david Burcombe says...

It would be a different story if that minority were disables. How sick some people are. disabled people are as important as the fully mobile
It would be a different story if that minority were disables. How sick some people are. disabled people are as important as the fully mobile david Burcombe
  • Score: 4

12:01am Wed 16 Apr 14

EMS32 says...

A sad state of affairs. I can understand the argument from both sides. It's a shame that the neighbours have rejected the stair lift and they will have to look this lady in the eye on a day to day basis and watch her struggle. At the same time, surely the couple would see the benefit of moving to a ground floor property that would makes both their lives so much easier in the long run. I can understand why some tenants wouldn't want a stair lift, it's selfish and morally wrong, but this is also these peoples homes and they shouldn't have to change it for the sake of 1 person, however sad and unfortunate the situation is. How very sad.
A sad state of affairs. I can understand the argument from both sides. It's a shame that the neighbours have rejected the stair lift and they will have to look this lady in the eye on a day to day basis and watch her struggle. At the same time, surely the couple would see the benefit of moving to a ground floor property that would makes both their lives so much easier in the long run. I can understand why some tenants wouldn't want a stair lift, it's selfish and morally wrong, but this is also these peoples homes and they shouldn't have to change it for the sake of 1 person, however sad and unfortunate the situation is. How very sad. EMS32
  • Score: 3

9:45am Wed 16 Apr 14

Stevendavies says...

EMS32. Just want to correct you.. The neighbours who actually live in our block supported us. It's the owners who rent out their flats which mainly objected. And actually the front door and pathway had a structural change some 2 1/2 years ago to accommodate wheelchair access. So this is discrimination against us. By the way the chair lifts these days are very neat and are an asset to a block of flats as older people don't want to live on the ground floor and there are virtually no flats in the area with lifts.
EMS32. Just want to correct you.. The neighbours who actually live in our block supported us. It's the owners who rent out their flats which mainly objected. And actually the front door and pathway had a structural change some 2 1/2 years ago to accommodate wheelchair access. So this is discrimination against us. By the way the chair lifts these days are very neat and are an asset to a block of flats as older people don't want to live on the ground floor and there are virtually no flats in the area with lifts. Stevendavies
  • Score: 8

11:26am Wed 16 Apr 14

Reader (R) says...

I too was assessed for a Disability Facilities Grant by Serco who conduct the assessments on behalf of Hertfordshire County Council. Apart from the adaption needed at that time I was also told that should I in the future need a chair lift I would have to move. The reason for this is that I live in a flat above ground level which has a communal stairwell.

I was told by Hertsmere Borough Council (who fund the adaptions) that a chair lift could not be fitted in a communal stairwell due to Health & Safety factors and also the risk of injury in the event of a fire evacuation.
I too was assessed for a Disability Facilities Grant by Serco who conduct the assessments on behalf of Hertfordshire County Council. Apart from the adaption needed at that time I was also told that should I in the future need a chair lift I would have to move. The reason for this is that I live in a flat above ground level which has a communal stairwell. I was told by Hertsmere Borough Council (who fund the adaptions) that a chair lift could not be fitted in a communal stairwell due to Health & Safety factors and also the risk of injury in the event of a fire evacuation. Reader (R)
  • Score: 2

12:13pm Wed 16 Apr 14

Stevendavies says...

Hbc have done a full health and safety assessment and there would be no problem in in the event of an emergency.
Hbc have done a full health and safety assessment and there would be no problem in in the event of an emergency. Stevendavies
  • Score: 4

12:21pm Wed 16 Apr 14

Reader (R) says...

So it appears that I am being discriminated against! If you can have then so can I.
So it appears that I am being discriminated against! If you can have then so can I. Reader (R)
  • Score: 5

12:33am Fri 18 Apr 14

LauraSusan says...

How can these selfish landlords who don't even live in their flats object??? They probably have never laid eyes on Carol. How can they be so in humane? Steve and Carol have said the lift won't be fixed to the wall. Don't they realise that this would allow Steve and Carole to resume some sort of normal life again. Keep fighting guys, just tear their kischas out......keep fighting and never ever give up.
How can these selfish landlords who don't even live in their flats object??? They probably have never laid eyes on Carol. How can they be so in humane? Steve and Carol have said the lift won't be fixed to the wall. Don't they realise that this would allow Steve and Carole to resume some sort of normal life again. Keep fighting guys, just tear their kischas out......keep fighting and never ever give up. LauraSusan
  • Score: 2

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree