ELDERLY residents of a Richmond residential home left  without the use of a lift for nine weeks following a fire must wait a further eight weeks for a replacement.

Queens Court, a 32-room sheltered housing complex in Queens Road, is managed by Richmondshire District Council.

Residents live independently but many rely on the lift to help them to reach their homes in the three-storey building.

However, after a fire broke out in the lift - leaving it unuseable - on December 8 last year, residents have been forced to use the stairs.

A concerned Richmond resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “All residents now have to negotiate the stairs, carrying laundry, rubbish and shopping.

“The residents are all elderly and are finding this situation difficult and stressful – it is a situation where an accident could happen so easily.

“Owing to the age of the residents I believe this repair should have been treated as a matter of urgency.”

Corporate director for Richmondshire District Council Colin Dales said the cause of the delay had been due to a dispute over quotes for the work between the council and its insurance company, followed by the lengthy process of having a new lift system made to order.

“This has created some difficulties for the residents living there, particularly those reliant on using the lift to get to their homes – but we have done all we can to help them find alternative accommodation and have sent extra carers to help with lifting and carrying.

“We also issued wheelchairs to residents able to use an outside ramp instead of the first set of stairs in the building.

“We have been working to get the situation resolved as soon as possible – but part of the work has been exploring why there was a fire in the first place.

“However the new lift has now been ordered and we expect it to be running within the next eight weeks.

“We can only apologise to everyone affected and reassure them we have been working as quickly as possible to sort this issue out.”