Elderly Edinburgh residents were left stuck in their homes over Christmas as a result of broken lifts, councillors have been told.
Desperate inhabitants of a Joppa high rise said they have constantly reached out to the council for help over the last two months with no luck.
Declaring a “state of emergency” over the situation at a city chambers meeting this week, they said some residents were unable to see their families over the festive period with many unable to receive food deliveries and visits from carers.
Councillors have called for an investigation into the state of all council-maintained elevators and when they will be replaced.
Addressing a full council meeting on Thursday, February 9, acting chair of Coillesdene House’s residents’ association Jane Murray said one of the building’s two 60-year-old lifts hasn’t been working properly since the beginning of November, with the other completely breaking down the following month.
In a letter, the group said some people living there have been “trapped in their homes since December 6”.
The majority of the 41 flats in the 11-storey block are privately owned, however non-council tenants pay the authority to maintain the lifts.
Ms Murray said there was “growing frustration” among residents.
“Quite a few are elderly and unable to get out of their houses, leaving them housebound throughout the Christmas period,” she added.
“It’s been our responsibility to contact the council who are our factors. Throughout that time we’ve had no response from the factors saying what’s happening.
“What do we do? We’ve got two lifts, one that sticks, doors don’t open, leaving people stuck in lifts – and we’ve got nobody to take this to.”
She declared a “state of emergency” at Coillesdene House, adding: “These lifts are worn out, a bit like us”.
She described the few occasions engineers visited the high rise as “ridiculous”, claiming they took parts out of one broken lift to fit in the other.
In a letter to the council, the residents’ association said it was understood the lifts needed to be replaced entirely “as parts are so difficult, if not impossible to source”.
It added: “There are many older people and people with mobility issues within the block and some have been trapped in their homes since December 6.”
Portobello and Craigmillar councillor Kate Campbell said: “It’s an 11-storey building and both lifts have been out at the same time on multiple occasions.
She tabled a motion calling for a report on repairs to council-maintained lifts over the last five years.
It will include “any actions” that were being taken to improve the situation at Coillesdene House and any other lifts that have been out of action across the city.
Cllr Campbell added: “It’s unacceptable for residents to be left in this situation and I’m really pleased the motion passed and hope we will see real action now.”