Amputee awaits disabled access for six months

Michael Gauntlett outside the bungalow he is waiting to move into, with helper Stephen Boyd

Michael Gauntlett outside the bungalow he is waiting to move into, with helper Stephen Boyd

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An amputee has claimed ‘the council is not helpful to disabled people’ after waiting more than six months for an adapted home to be ready.

Former lorry driver Michael Gauntlett had to move out of his first-floor flat in Cross Road, Southwick, when it became unsuitable for his needs after his leg was amputated last July.

Adur council found him a bungalow in Summer Close, Fishersgate, but it was quickly realised adaptations were needed.

They were supposed to take eight weeks, but six months down the line he has still never spent a night in his new home.

According to his helper, Stephen Boyd from Steyning: “He’s been badly treated by the council.

“It’s driving him up the wall – not knowing what’s happening.”

He’s been badly treated by the council

Helper Stephen Boyd

The 59-year-old, who uses a wheelchair and now has a prosthetic leg, was sent to the Wardley hotel in Hove while the bungalow work took place.

But he arrived to find the council had forgotten to book him a room.

They apologised, but returning the next day, he found he could not get his wheelchair into the bedroom.

He was then offered a studio in Bognor Regis which he described as ‘unclean’ and ‘disgusting’, with only a bunk bed for him, a man of 6ft 8ins, to sleep in.

For the last eight weeks he has been staying at a residential home in Durrington – a ‘waste of taxpayers’ money’ when he ‘could have been in the bungalow before Christmas.’

He said: “I spend a lot of time on my own outside, or doing jigsaws.”

The bungalow still needs a new front door and a ramp before he can move in, but he said he has heard nothing from the council about when that might be.

A council spokesperson said the property, secured by Adur Homes, needed adaptations which could not be made until an occupation therapist made an assessment – provided in October.

While internal adaptations were completed by November, the supply of a replacement front door had ‘unfortunately taken longer than we would have hoped’, said the spokesperson, adding: “But it is due to be delivered within the next two weeks, so all works will be completed by the first week of February.”

A temporary ramp can then be installed while planning permission is obtained for a permanent ramp, said the spokesperson, who confirmed that West Sussex County Council was providing Mr Gauntlett with temporary accommodation.

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