John Howell MP “Retirement lift issue goes ‘to the heart’ of what being an MP is all about”

John Howell
John Howell

My attention was drawn back to Sharman Beer Court in Thame this past week.

I first visited the flats back in November to see for myself the effect of the one lift for the building having been out of order for over six weeks. Sharman Beer Court is owner occupied and residents are mainly elderly people, some of them disabled. What drew my attention back, despite the correspondence in the meantime with Sanctuary, the managers of the site, was the suggestion that the new replacement lift was now not going to be installed. Full stop. An immediate check showed this to be incorrect.

I share the concerns felt about the length of time it is taking for the lift to be installed as was reported in last week’s Thame Gazette. It has been something of a nightmare for those who live there and despite the installation of a stair lift, many have been effectively trapped in their flats. I can understand how frustrating this must have been. Like many, I was extremely disappointed that the installation of the new lift did not begin as promised on 19 May. What Sanctuary said was: “We were only informed late last week that the resident’s chosen contractor, Otis Lifts, was unable to begin work on Monday but are doing everything possible to ensure the works take place as quickly as possible.” A revised start date has now been agreed.

This job goes to the heart of what being an MP is about. The best way of standing up for constituents is by quiet pressure on the company involved. It requires persistent pressure. I have been in regular discussion with Sanctuary since first becoming aware of the problem in November and will continue to be so.