A council home management organisation has threatened to “remove and dispose” of a mobility scooter belonging to an 86-year-old Northampton man with arthritis because it is classed as a ’fire risk’.
Peter Drinkwater lives in a council flat in the Kingsthorpe area of town, which is managed by Northampton Partnership Homes (NPH).
The pensioner, who struggles to walk due to a series of health problems, has a mobility scooter which he keeps in a corridor in a downstairs hallway of the block of flats, which can only be accessed by himself and his neighbour.
Mr Drinkwater said he has kept the scooter in the hallway since August last year and his neighbour has no problem with its position.
However, on Monday an NPH employee placed a sticker on the handlebars of Mr Drinkwater’s scooter which stated it would be removed if it was not moved within in seven days as it was considered a fire hazard.
The notice also stated NPH “reserved the right to dispose of this item”.
NPH has also put up a number of new signs in the corridors stating items must not be stored in communal areas as it was a breach of fire safety regulations.
Mr Drinkwater said he did not want to put his scooter outside of his block of flats as he was concerned it may get stolen or vandalised.
He said: “I will not be able to go out if I do not have my scooter. I have arthritis in my knee and I get short of breath very easily.
“My neighbour has no problems at all with the scooter being parked there. We can both fit past it quite comfortably.
“If they take it I would class that as theft.”
Mr Drinkwater said a representative from NPH had spoken to him and said the battery on his mobility scooter made it an increased fire risk.
A spokesman for Northampton Paternership Homes said: “Northampton Partnership Homes has a statutory duty to make sure that all fire escapes and fire routes are kept clear at all times. Fire safety is of paramount importance to us and we have agreed our approach with Northants Fire & Rescue Service.
“It is really important that communal areas are kept free from any obstruction or fire risk. Failure to dispose of goods left in communal areas may place tenants at heightened risk.
“We’re committed to working with residents on a case by case basis to look at any possible solutions, the safety of tenants being our primary concern.
“Mobility scooters pose a serious fire risk and can block the means of escape from a fire.”