Update: Gosport pensioners left isolated as they struggle to open heavy flat gate
A PENSIONER's life has been flipped upside down after she was knocked over by a gate heading into her flat.
Betty Cook spent three weeks in Queen Alexandra Hospital and a further three months in rehabilitation after breaking her pelvis going through the gate to her home in Harbour Tower, in Gosport, in November.
Mrs Cook, 89, now struggles to get around and has had her independence stripped from her.
She said: ‘It gets really windy down here and it becomes extremely difficult to move the gate.
‘When it knocked me over, it swung back really fast and knocked me off my feet. Luckily, a nurse came running over which I was really grateful for.
‘It took two men to hold me up and I was rushed to QA for three weeks and now I’m not the same.
‘I used to go out and do things all of the time – I was never in the house. I used to get the ferry across to Portsmouth and then go to London, which I don’t do as much any more.’
Since then, housing association Hyde Housing has changed the gate and put an even heavier one in place.
Betty said: ‘It’s made the situation even worse now because it is so hard to open.
‘A lot of us use a walker and there’s a timer after you put the fob on the gate, which makes it difficult.
‘People say the gate is there to keep the kids out we’ve never had any trouble in the 15 years I’ve been here. They make more noise climbing the fence if they do and they can get round through the car park.
‘I moved here because of how close it is to the bus station and ferry terminal, but now my daughters are asking me to move again.’
Lissie Parsons, 88, said: ‘I had a bad injury about three years ago on my leg that has left me with a scar.
‘I was back and forth about twice a week to the doctors for a while.’
Rita McVady, 92, said: ‘I used to go out for walks along the promenade, but I rarely do now with the new gate and it will get worse in the winter.’
Corinne Waterford, Head of Housing for The Hyde Group, said: “We were extremely sorry to hear of the incidents that have occurred at Harbour Towers and for the injury suffered by Mrs Cook.
“The existing gate was installed by previous owners following consultation with the local residents who were in full support and very vocal that the gates should remain in place.
‘More recently we fitted a mechanical device as a safety measure to prevent the gate from catching in the wind. We take the health and safety of our residents extremely seriously and maintain regular inspections of the gates as part of our estate plan.
‘We are sorry to hear that this is causing further issues for our residents and are committed to working with them to find a suitable solution.’