A DISABLED woman says she feels like a ‘prisoner in her own home’, claiming the lift in her building has been left broken for 18 days.

Kimberley Packer lives in a third-floor flat on Winterthur Way in a building run by Sovereign Housing, and is currently unable to leave her flat without the assistance of carers, after the building’s lift has broken down seven times in less than three weeks.

The 35-year-old, who has lived in the building for eight years, is desperate to gain her independence back, and especially wishes to travel to Portsmouth to scatter her late father’s ashes.

However, with six flights of stairs between her and the exit, she is currently almost entirely confined to her home.

"I can't live the way I am at the moment,” Kimberley told the Gazette.

“I can’t go to see my doctor about the pain I’m in, and I nearly had to cancel my Covid jab, but now one of the carers can take me. Without the carers, I can’t go outside.

“I feel locked in my flat."

A sign on the lift states that the lift requires a new motor but that ‘no timescale’ has been given to the building’s caretaker, Barrie.

Kimberley, who suffers from learning difficulties and a number of medical conditions including arthritis, asthma, diabetes and twisted knee caps, grew up in the foster care system from the age of three and now lives with her partner Adam, 21, with carers coming in to see her four times a week.

She says the lift has broken seven times in the past 18 days, and she has been in contact with Sovereign “at least ten times” about it.

Basingstoke Gazette: The sign on the lift at Kimberley's building on Winterthur Way.The sign on the lift at Kimberley's building on Winterthur Way.

Last week, she was stuck in the lift for three hours.

“I was panicked. The thing that was worrying me was that I’m diabetic, I need sugar. And I had to cross my legs for two hours!” she said.

Eventually, the fire brigade came to Kimberley’s rescue, as the lift engineers were still en route.

“I had an ambulance check me over and I was ok, but the carers were panicking because they knew without sugar I could have gone into a coma or a fit. My carer had to come early and keep me calm. That wasn’t the first time it has broken down on me either.”

Kimberley is currently dealing with the loss of her father, who passed away from cancer in November, and says she needs the distraction of time socialising and out and about.

“I have an electric buggy sitting in the kitchen not being used,” she said.

“I’m not an indoor person, I like to be out and about. But I can’t do anything, I’m stuck.

“It’s not healthy for me, it’s not healthy for Adam who’s got no space. It’s not healthy to be together all day, every single day.

“I want it fixed so people can get out and do things and be independent again. It’s lovely weather and I can’t even get out to do something nice like go to the park or go for a coffee with the carer.”

Kimberley blames the continued problems on “drug addicts” and says she often sees “people who don’t live here” or are “dossing” at neighbours’ flats damaging the lift.

She said: “When I moved in, it was quite a nice place. But the drug issues are getting worse. We have children in this building as well.

“We have another three people in this building with disabilities, and a lady upstairs with a baby who can’t go out because she is a single mum and can’t carry the baby and the pushchair. Barrie the caretaker helped her, but people are having a go at him like it’s his fault but it’s not."

She continued: “Last week, I got a call saying they had the part in, then I got another call today [Tuesday, June 8], that they need to order something else. I might have learning difficulties, but that does not add up!

“Putting up a sign saying they don’t know when they are going to fix the lift is ridiculous. We are in an emergency situation, and they have gone past the 24 hours allowed.

“If this carries on, I’ve told Sovereign I will have to be moved downstairs or somewhere else.

“The doctor is concerned that one day I might not be able to walk and so I want to enjoy being young. I should not feel like a prisoner in my own home.”

Matthew Hensby, regional director of housing at Sovereign said: “We’re aware that one of the lifts at our apartment block on Winterthur Way, Basingstoke is out of action. Our contractor tested the lift when it was first reported to us. Unfortunately, it couldn’t be repaired straight away as a part needed to be ordered.

“We appreciate this is not ideal and we’re sorry for any inconvenience this is causing. In the meantime we’re visiting affected residents to see if there is any additional support we’re able to provide, and we’re offering temporary accommodation until the lift is restored.

“We would like to thank residents for their patience and hope we’ll be able to carry out the repair as soon as the part arrives.”