‘Health and safety’ fears over storerooms at flats

Ribbetts House, Hurstpierpoint SUS-160505-101450001
Ribbetts House, Hurstpierpoint SUS-160505-101450001

Residents in a block of flats in Hurstpierpoint are worried after being told they must clear out communal store cupboards because of ‘health and safety’ fears.

A number of the residents at Ribbetts House in Trinity Road say that have lived at the flats for years and are concerned they will have nowhere to store the belongings they currently have in the store rooms in a communal area near their homes.

John Launay, 72, who has lived at the flats for eight years, says that he has stored a number of items in the communal area ever since he moved in, including tools he used while working as a carpenter.

Now he fears he will have to move home because he has nowhere to keep his things. “I haven’t got any room in my flat. I can barely get into my bed at the moment,” he said.

He said other residents, including a woman of 90, were also panicking and wondering where they could put their things.

He said they were told of the move when the flats’ warden put notes through residents’ doors saying that the store rooms had to be emptied for health and safety reasons.

A spokesperson for landlords Affinity Sutton said: “We are currently rolling out our LiveSmart offer across our retirement schemes.

“LiveSmart schemes offer an updated and modern environment with an on-site concierge service, an intercom in each room, remodelled community facilities and Wi-Fi. Following consultation with current residents, Ribbetts House is one of the next schemes to benefit from the upgrade. A new store room will not be provided as part of the plans because it is difficult to safeguard people’s belongings in communal areas. In addition storage can become excessive and start to present a health and safety risk.

“Where it is difficult for residents to store equipment such as wheelchairs and walking frames in their properties, we will of course look to accommodate these elsewhere on the scheme for them.”