Home nightmare for disabled Chichester man

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A Chichester family has hit out at housing bosses who have failed to help a ‘struggling’ wheelchair user.

Jamie Yates faces Christmas in an unsuitable house, despite promises from housing association HydeMartlet to make his home safe.

The 22-year-old, who has been at the property for more than a year, had to be treated for burns after scalding his foot on a radiator – due to the property failing to meet his disability needs.

Jamie’s mum Penny Yates is now pleading with the housing group to fulfil its pledge to adapt a bungalow for her son so he can live in a safe and secure environment.

Jamie has been waiting since spring for the work to be carried out by HydeMartlet at his home in Carleton Road; he is currently unable to use the kitchen because of poor wheelchair access, he cannot go into the garden and there is no walk-in shower.

This month the need for the work became even more urgent after he was treated for burns to his foot.

Currently his bedroom can only be arranged with his bed against a radiator, which has to be draped with towels because it is so hot – one night a towel fell off, which left him with burns.

Mrs Yates said: “The most important thing is for him to be safe. Burning his foot really brought it home to me.

“I’ve always been worried before, but now I’m really worried and he just can’t live like this. His bedroom is freezing cold because he’s had to turn the heating off. I am just so cross they can get away with this.”

The former tree surgeon was left needing a wheelchair after suffering a spinal injury when he fell 50 feet from a tree in December 2009.

After a long fight to get accommodation following his discharge from hospital, the bungalow in Carleton Road became available last October while he was living in a room in someone else’s bungalow.

Mrs Yates said the property was in a state of near-total disrepair but despite this, Jamie had to accept it and start paying rent straight away, otherwise he would have lost the offer.

He finally moved into the bungalow last November and after guidance from his occupational therapist on how the property should be configured, Mrs Yates said HydeMartlet promised all necessary work would be completed by spring. But since then little progress had been made. HydeMartlet had sent out representatives on three separate occasions, but she said the situation had not moved forward.

She said Jamie’s condition was also exacerbated after he underwent a serious abdominal operation.

“When he had surgery and came home he wasn’t able to bath for weeks, which was very distressing for him,” said Mrs Yates. “He wasn’t allowed to lift himself in and out of the bath.”

Mrs Yates said the situation was causing great strain. She added: “It is hard to see how hard it is for him. It would be so nice and relaxing for him to be in a safe environment – I just worry about him there now.

“He’s really struggling and it does get him down.”

Mrs Yates has contacted Chichester MP Andrew Tyrie for help with their case.

She wrote: “Jamie is not a demanding person and tries to avoid making a fuss about his predicament, but there is no doubt at all that without meaningful intervention things will not improve.”

A Hyde spokeswoman said the district council was funding the work with a special grant, and national rules required a person to be a tenant of a property before they could apply for the funding. Repairs to the radiator were due to take place yesterday.

A statement read: “Hyde has been working closely with Mr Yates’ occupational therapist, the local authority and an architect on the redesign of the property to ensure it meets his requirements.

“Hyde apologises for the inconvenience caused to Mr Yates and endeavours to complete the redesign as soon as possible to the best standard.”