‘It’s barmy’ ... disabled man trapped in his own home

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A disabled man has been left a prisoner in his own home because he has been unable to get wheelchair access from his front door.

Stephen Duwell, 49, has lived in his bungalow home in Challoners, Horsted Keynes, for more than two years - and has suffered access problems throughout that time.

A wheelchair lift was installed at the front of the property in April, but, says Stephen - who suffers multiple health problems - it frequently breaks down, leaving him trapped in his house.

“All I wanted was a simple ramp,” said Stephen, but he said officials ‘over-engineered’ things by installing the lift - which he says breaks down every time it rains.

Stephen has suffered two strokes, five heart attacks and has been treated three times for cancer and says he has been told his condition is terminal. He also suffers from diabetes, osteoporosis and osteo arthritis.

He says that all he needs is a simple ramp to enable him to get in and out of his house easily in his wheelchair.

The lift - which was installed after consultation with Stephen’s landlords, the housing association Affinity Sutton, and Mid Sussex District Council - broke down once more during heavy rain this week.

“If there was a fire I would have been sat on a lump of concrete outside my house and not been able to move. It’s barmy,” said Stephen.

A spokesperson for Affinity Sutton said: “We absolutely appreciate the inconvenience Mr Duwell has been experiencing and it clearly is not acceptable. We are in close liaison with Amber Living, which is project managing the access works, and understand that the team is meeting with the manufacturer responsible for the lift regarding the ongoing issues in order to resolve them completely.”