Wheelchair user brands public lift in centre of Portsmouth 'unsafe'

A FRUSTRATED city resident who uses a wheelchair is calling for changes to be made to a public lift, branding it 'unsafe.'

By Fiona Callingham
Friday, 30th April 2021, 10:20 pm
Steven Kingett in the Guildhall Square lift, Portsmouth on 28 April 2021

Picture: Habibur Rahman
Steven Kingett in the Guildhall Square lift, Portsmouth on 28 April 2021 Picture: Habibur Rahman

Southsea man Steven Kingett, 56, has claimed the disabled lift in Guildhall Square - that takes users from the ground floor to the level by the central library - is a 'potential risk' due its lack of handles.

The 11-year-old facility does not have handles as part of its design and instead uses an overhead door closer that automatically closes the door behind the user.

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Steven Kingett in the Guildhall Square lift, Portsmouth on 28 April 2021 Picture: Habibur Rahman

But former cleaner Mr Kingett, who uses the lift at least twice a month, said: 'I just don't feel safe in the lift.

'Recently the door closer wasn't working and I had to rely on passers-by to close the door for me. And even when you get to the top you have no choice but to kick the door open with your feet if you can but it's a very heavy door.

'The whole thing is in really bad condition, it just feels like it could break at any moment trapping you in there.

'A lot of people need to access the library and it's discriminatory if wheelchair users can't get there. It is part of a wider accessibility issue in this city.'

The Guildhall Square lift, Portsmouth on 28 April 2021 Picture: Habibur Rahman

Portsmouth City Council confirmed the lift is currently in working order following a repair job on the door closer in March.

Meredydd Hughes, the council's assistant director of buildings, housing, neighbourhood and building services, said: 'We do not want any lift user to have a negative experience and are always very keen to hear about any problems experienced so that we can rectify them as swiftly as possible.

'We are contacting the resident directly so we can understand the difficulties they are having.'

The platform lift is inspected on a monthly basis and any outstanding repairs are identified and undertaken following these visits.

A total of eight repairs have been carried out on the lift start of 2020.

If residents experience any issues with the lift, these can be reported to the council's repairs support team on 023 92 841311.

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