Disabled woman feels like a '˜prisoner' after fencing and scaffolding leave her home in the dark

ONGOING maintenance work has left a woman feeling like a prisoner in her own home.

Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 8:24 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 4:56 pm
Tracey Hollingdale at her flat in Ark Royal House, Blanchard Avenue, Gosport, with the fence and scaffolding visible through the window

Tracey Hollingdale, a resident at Ark Royal House in Blanchard Avenue, Gosport, says she feels trapped after a 12ft fence was put up outside, along with scaffolding.

Disabled Ms Hollingdale says that not only has the fence cut off all light to her room, but that it has also cut off her escape route in the event of an emergency.

Now, the 56-year-old is demanding answers from developers about what’s happening to her home.

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She said: ‘Because I’m on the ground floor, when the new fencing went up I lost all the lighting in my flat.

‘I now have to keep my lights on all day long – it is like living in a prison cell.

‘The situation has really got me down, to the point where I just don’t want to live here anymore.’

But Ms Hollingdale’s issues don’t stop at the lighting.

She is also concerned about what would happen to her home if a fire broke out in the main entrance of the building.

She said: ‘The fencing means that the only fire escape is through the main entrance.

‘The fencing means I cannot get out any other way – it’s a real fire hazard and I’m furious that this has happened.

‘I feel like I’ve been let down by Vivid – they’re putting me at risk for no good reason.

‘At this stage I just want to move out and put this nightmare behind me.’

Julian Chun, director of transition at Vivid Homes, said: ‘We understand Ms Hollingdale’s frustrations with the scaffold at Ark Royal House, and the inconvenience it’s causing.

‘In May, Taylor Wimpey put up scaffolding so they can access the building and complete a number of important repairs.

‘We expect this to take around 40 weeks.

‘The safety of people is our top priority – and when we had concerns that people were getting into the scaffolding, the best option was to build additional fencing around the scaffolding and a letter was sent to customers.

‘We realise this has the biggest impact on ground floor homes and so openings have been formed in the fencing to allow more light to filter through.

‘We’ve also carried out full fire risk assessments and we want to reassure customers that, in the event of a fire, they should continue to follow the existing fire safety advice, which has been approved by the fire service.’