Pensioners living in a council high-rise with a faulty lift have reacted angrily to news the authority is splashing out £737,000 on an energy-saving heating system for a neighbouring building. For 10 months residents in the Elizabeth Court tower block have called for its only lift to be repaired, but the work has still not been completed, leaving many unable to leave their homes. And their fury was heightened this week when the council agreed to spend the six-figure sum installing an energy efficiency scheme at Margaret Court, a tower block which sits opposite and is also owned by the authority. Elizabeth Court resident Jeff Leach said:
“I’m disgusted. The money should have gone to us. If they can spend that sort of money over there, they should reconsider what they’re doing here, but I can’t see that happening.”
The work is set to be carried out by East Kent Housing, but delays have forced the organisation to offer compensation to residents. Cllr Ron Flaherty (Lib Dem), who has supported the residents’ case, said:
“I’m particularly angered because I had assurances from East Kent Housing the issue would be solved. I don’t have a problem with money being spent on energy efficiency, that’s a good thing. But I think the priority really should be to solve the problem of residents at Elizabeth Court.”
Council spokesman Rob Davies confirmed the £737,000 for Margaret Court had been approved by the executive committee on Tuesday. According to a council report, the money will pay for a new ground-sourced heating system which will improve the energy supply and reduce bills for the council and tenants. East Kent Housing is still in discussions with residents at Elizabeth Court about how the repairs to the lift will be completed.
Herne Bay Gazette, November 20th 2014