Leeds pensioners say they are prisoners in own home

Pensioners at a Leeds retirement complex say a faulty lift has turned them into virtual prisoners in their rooms.

The lift is the only one serving an entire wing of the Woodview complex, in Eastwood Drive, Swarcliffe.

It broke down on Saturday, May 17 – and since then has worked on and off for a total of just 12 hours.

Some old folk on the first and second floors have been effectively stranded in their rooms because the complex's stairs are too much for them.

The affected residents include 84-year-old grandfather Frank Griffin.

His 56-year-old son, also called Frank, said: "It's just not good enough. That lift is a lifeline for him. Without it he can't get down to the ground floor to join in with any social activities."

Other residents are managing to summon up the energy to tackle the stairs – but are left exhausted each time they do so.

Norman Harding, 78, who lives at Woodview with his 74-year-old wife Pauline, said: "It's getting to the stage where people are missing hospital appointments and so on. We appreciate that lifts break down occasionally – but it shouldn't take so long to sort out, surely?"

The ground and second floors of the complex's Court wing are separated by several flights of stairs, which together have nearly 40 steps.

Engineers have made a number of visits to privately-run Woodview without the problem being fixed. Hailed as a "pensioners' paradise" when it opened in 2004, Woodview is run by London-based Anchor Retirement Housing. Anchor's website assures potential customers that its schemes are designed "so you can keep your independence" and offer "services aimed at giving you control over your life".

A spokeswoman for Anchor apologised to residents for the lift breakdown, which she acknowledged was "extremely inconvenient".

She said the lift needed a new circuit board which had been ordered but had yet to arrive.

"Staff have been doing all they can to support tenants," she said