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