Disabled Havant OAPs told to pay up £200 a year for scooters

UPSET Pensioners Jim Russell, Hazel Forbes, Roland Wise and Patricia Reid.     Picture: Steve Reid (112258-439)
UPSET Pensioners Jim Russell, Hazel Forbes, Roland Wise and Patricia Reid. Picture: Steve Reid (112258-439)

Winchester jail put in special measures

Have your say

DISABLED pensioners have been told to cough up £200 a year if they want to keep their mobility scooters.

Angry elderly people at Keats House, Leigh Park, have been told to remove their scooters by the end of July if they don’t want to pay the fee under new regulations set by Guinness Hermitage.

The social housing provider is demanding £104 a year for tenants to keep their scooters at the property in Bedhampton Way.

And the total increases to £200 because Guinness Hermitage, part of Guinness Partnership, has decided its residents across the south east must apply and pay for mobility insurance to cover potential liability and damage to others.

They say that they want to manage where scooters are stored to comply with fire regulations for communal areas.

Elderly tenants at Keats House use electric scooters indoors and on the pavement. Insurance is normally optional because they are not used on roads.

People living in Keats House are expected to pay the new charges even though there are no special storage areas for mobility scooters in the building.

James Russell, who suffered a heart attack in February, said: ‘We’re going to be paying money just so that our scooters are kept outside in the rain. It’s discrimination of the disabled.

‘Many who live here just get by on their state pension.

‘It’s a complete waste of money.’

‘The first time I heard about it was when a letter came through my door last week. We didn’t have our say.’

A consultation took place across Guinness Hermitage housing schemes before the policy was launched.

The association says residents understood the need for charges to be introduced.

Residents also have to apply for a scooter permit by arranging an annual service and safety tests for their scooter chargers.

New rates for electricity usage in recharging scooter batteries will also be brought it at £2 per week.

This charge will cover building and maintenance of scooter storage units.

A spokesman for the firm said: ‘We will make sure the money charged will be used as part of an investment programme to create scooter storage facilities for our residents.’

Muriel Deacon, president of Portsmouth Pensioners Association, said: ‘It’s completely out of order.

‘I don’t see how it’s anyone’s business how someone looks after their mobility scooter.

‘It looks like a money-making exercise.’