Resident with disabilities 'embarrassed' after council disposes of wheelchair

Jayde Chambers had her wheelchair removed from a communal area of her flat 

Jayde Chambers had her wheelchair removed from a communal area of her flat - Credit: Jayde Chambers

A Stevenage Borough Council tenant has been left feeling "embarrassed and discriminated against", after council workers disposed of her wheelchair which was left in the stairwell of her block of flats. 

Jayde Chambers said that by leaving her wheelchair tucked away near the stairs, it was classed as "fly tipping".

The Runswick Court resident told the Comet: "They took my wheelchair which was left outside my property, and now they've thrown it away. 

Jayde's wheelchair was left tucked away in the stairwell outside her flat in Runswick Court, Stevenage

Jayde's wheelchair was left tucked away in the stairwell outside her flat in Runswick Court, Stevenage - Credit: Jayde Chambers

"There's a lot of stuff in other stairwells in the building that hasn't been removed - bikes, chairs, you name it.

"The fact that they've only taken my wheelchair - I feel completely discriminated against. I'm embarrassed I am having to ring and beg people for my chair." 

Jayde emailed the housing officer and received a response to say she could have her chair back, however this would come with a charge. 

Willing to accept the charge, Jayde followed up, only to be told her chair had been "binned". 

The wheelchair was taken from the stairwell and disposed of by the council

The wheelchair was taken from the stairwell and disposed of by the council - Credit: Jayde Chambers

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"First they confirmed they had my wheelchair and said 'we're going to charge you for it'", the 25-year-old continued.

"When I spoke to them on the phone, I was then told they'd binned it."

Jayde suffers with hip dysplasia, hypermobility, EDS syndrome and snapping TFL, which causes joints and muscles to tear easily. She is awaiting hip reconstruction surgery. She needs to use her wheelchair to get around on days when her conditions cause her agony.

"I just feel I've not been supported correctly at all," she continued. 

"It's hard enough being disabled and not 'looking disabled', because you can't see the pain I'm in every day.

"I need my chair. If I hurt myself or fall over I can't get anywhere."

A Stevenage Borough Council spokeswoman said: "We’re sorry that a resident of Bude Crescent felt victimised and embarrassed after a routine safety inspection by Stevenage Council last month.

"Our intention was to identify any discarded items and general rubbish in the communal areas at Runswick Court as this is a serious safety risk for the block.

"Whenever we plan to remove items from communal spaces in blocks of flats, we always contact the block’s residents to politely ask them to take anything that’s theirs and therefore do not want binning.

"As always, we gave a weeks’ notice by letters and phone calls so everyone could claim their personal belongings, and anything left after those seven days the caretaker then proceeded to remove as instructed by us, assuming the items were rubbish or simply abandoned.

"The wheelchair in question had been sat under the stairwell, unused, for some time with rubbish and other items piling up around it. As no one took the wheelchair within the seven days, it was assumed abandoned then disposed of along with everything else that was discarded in the communal areas."

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