Wheelchair-bound Framlingham man ‘just wants some dignity’ in 15-year housing ‘fight’

Ian Holt, who is wheelchair bound, has criticized Flagship Homes for not carrying out improvements to make his house fit for someone with disabilities. 




PICTURE: Mecha Morton
Ian Holt, who is wheelchair bound, has criticized Flagship Homes for not carrying out improvements to make his house fit for someone with disabilities. PICTURE: Mecha Morton

Wheelchair-bound Ian Holt says he just wants some dignity – in what he claims is a 15-year battle with his tenancy provider to make his home meet his needs.

Mr Holt, of Pageant Place, Framlingham, said: “I shouldn’t have to suck on a plastic pipe to get water out of a tap– it’s England in 
2017.”

I feel like a burden to society

Ian Holt

The 51-year-old suffers from Friedreich’s Ataxia, a progressive neurological condition.

He was first featured in the Diss Express in September 2014, where he criticised the care system.

He said tenancy provider Flagship Housing Group had not carried out enough work to make his home suitable – and the work they had done was below an acceptable standard.

But he says in the three years since, little has changed.

Light switches remain too high; doorways too narrow. His bathroom was converted to a wet room – but the water does not drain away. Walls are unpainted, wooden units above his stove are a fire risk, and he had to build his own ramp so he could get into his back garden.

And his bathroom sink is at a height he has had to make a device, using pipes and bungee cords, so he can get water out of the taps.

A report on the house was also carried out by a chartered surveyors two years ago.

The report concluded the home was “not suitable” – and action should be taken to “more adequately reflect” his needs.

“The list goes on and on and on – there’s so many things,” he said.

“The plan was to come here and retire. But I’ve been fighting for 15 years.

“I think this place needs £30,000 to £35,000 to make it suitable for me. Here’s my argument – £35,000 will be recouped in one year because I’m not in a care home.

“And secondly, when I die, I’m already long past my sell-by date, let some other wheelchair user have this house.

“I feel like a burden to society.”

The Diss Express contacted Flagship Housing for comment. In response, Dale Wordley, Operations Manager (Trade) at RFT Services, said: “We have tried on a number of occasions to contact Mr Holt to arrange a time to complete the works which are in our scope of service.

“Unfortunately, many of the works are outside the remit of Flagship Homes and RFT as they require an occupational therapist, which are the responsibility of the local authority, to agree what appropriate works need to be made to the property.

“We have this week sent a letter to Mr Holt with an appointment date to ensure we can carry out the works within the next few weeks.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Coastal District Council said: “Mr Holt’s Occupational Therapist contacted him on October 11 to say that they will be back in contact at the end of the month to confirm with him the work taking place.

“Following this, the work to his property can be carried out.”

Mr Holt said he had received no correspondence from RFT Services at the time of going to press.