ELDERLY people are being put at risk by poor maintenance of handrails and ramps outside their homes, a councillor has warned.
Coun George Elsom was contacted by residents unhappy about the colour of new handrails being installed at The Lonnen in South Shields.
But when he carried out a site visit, he was shocked to find many of the old handrails had rusted and weeds were growing through gaps in the steel ramps, causing a slip hazard.
The Cleadon Park member said: “Green railings are being fitted with the new ramps, and residents are not being consulted about the colour of these at all. A number have complained to me, as they wanted white rails to match their other fittings.
“A survey I carried out has revealed green, white, beige, blue and silver-coloured rails, as well as, in one case, wooden handrails.
“I have been out with officers from South Tyneside Homes, and I have pointed all these different-coloured rails out. I also pointed out that, in a number of cases, the rails are so old they have rusted, and it is easy to cut one’s hand on them.
“In instances, weeds are growing through the ramp bottoms and so constitute a great danger to elderly residents who have mobility problems in the first place.
“Some of the ramps are dangerous, and I do not want an accident to occur to an elderly resident, especially as the dark nights are upon us and visibility is not great.”
Brian Scott, director of housing for South Tyneside Homes, said: “The safety of tenants, especially at this time of year, is always of great importance to us, as adverse weather conditions can make some surfaces quite slippery for users.
“The location is actively monitored as part of our regular inspection and maintenance services.”
The pathed areas around the estate have recently received attention to remove any overgrown foliage.
“The Housing Management Officer for Cleadon Park and The Lonnen has a frequent presence on the estate and carries out thorough checks in the area. She reports any issues which are causing concern either to our Property Services section or to the appropriate Council department. These checks are also used to continually monitor any safety worries residents may have for items such as railings and ramps.
“We also encourage tenants on the estate to report any problems or areas of concern directly to us so that we can investigate them further.”
***COUNCIL COMMENT TO COME