Residents are left ‘terrified’ as they get trapped in Hayling Island lift

STUCK Robert Ormisher
STUCK Robert Ormisher
Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr Ken Ellcome with Jean and Allan Thompson. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

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DISABLED residents say they have been left terrified after repeatedly finding themselves trapped inside their building’s tiny lift.

One suffered a panic attack after becoming stuck in the lift at Northwood House, in Hayling Island, for more than an hour. And another elderly woman was forced to walk up the stairs with her shopping after the block’s lift stopped working.

Now residents say they have had enough, and are writing to Guinness Hermitage housing association to demand action.

Robert Ormisher suffers from bipolar disorder, as well as a long-term back problem.

He has been trapped in the lift three times since moving into the building, in Rest-a-Wyle Avenue in February.

‘The last time it happened I felt like the world was coming to an end,’ said the 48-year-old.

‘I had a panic attack, I was perspiring and couldn’t breath properly.

‘I just had to sit on the floor with my finger on the emergency button and hope that someone was coming to help me.

‘Now thinking about it brings me out in a cold sweat, so I have to carry my shopping up and down the stairs, which I find very difficult.’

Mr Ormisher was rescued from the lift by firefighters after an hour, but said the housing association does not seem willing to address the problem.

He said: ‘This cannot keep happening. Why can’t they just repair the lift properly? Or pay for a new one if it’s so clapped-out that it can’t be relied on.’

Fellow resident Oliver Stone, 62, said he was stuck in the lift for an hour-and-a-half but wasn’t able to sit down because of a back operation.

‘It was quite painful,’ he said. ‘And for a while afterwards I was very worried about using the lift.’

When the elevator broke while she was out shopping, 81-year-old Jean Seymour had to crawl back up to her flat despite suffering from acute arthritis.

‘It’s disgusting,’ she said.

‘When I pressed the button to call someone they didn’t even know where Northwood House was. I’ve lived here since 1998 and the problems we’ve had with the lift since the start of this year just beggar belief.’

A spokesman for Guinness Hermitage said: ‘The lift at Northwood House is regularly serviced and complies with all legislative requirements. Aside from Mr Ormisher there have been no other very recent incidents of residents being stuck in the lift.

‘The reported incidents date back to March, of which one required a repair to the braking system and the others were linked to a safety cut-off mechanism which has since been adjusted.

‘The lift has an alarm bell, and work has begun on the installation of an auto-dialler which connects the caller to an emergency call centre.’