A GROUP of OAPs who live in a sheltered housing complex say they have become “prisoners” in their homes because of continuous lift faults.

Five Fields Court, in The Centre, Greenstead, Colchester, is home to 24 residents, some of whom have complex mobility needs.

But the group claim as a result of a series of problems with the complex’s lift, some of them are unable to leave their home.

As of yesterday, the group had been told there was a problem with the lift’s braking system, which will require scaffolding to be erected inside the shaft.

No fresh timeline has been given for the repairs to be completed.

Norman Bloom, who has lived in the complex for more than four years, said: “It feels like we’ve become prisoners in our own homes because the lift is out of action so often.

“It was broken for about five and a half weeks, then it was fixed and within two weeks, it has broken down again.

“If it wasn’t so serious, you would think it was a joke.”

The 66-year-old wheelchair user added: “Some people have carers, so that means they can use the stairlift but others don’t and unless that lift is working, they can’t get out.”

The complex is run by Notting Hill Genesis Housing Association, which lays on a worker at points during the day, primarily to keep the complex clean.

But Mr Bloom said between 1pm and 9pm, the complex is not manned.

Last night, he added: “We had a technician come and they’ve worked out it’s the brake system on bottom of the lift and as far as I know, they’ve got to get scaffolding in, sort the brake system out and there is no sign of engineers or anyone else.

“We’re just waiting for them to start. It won’t be a quick job and we aren’t holding our breath.

“There is man at the top floor who just isn’t able to get out and it’s really getting him down.”

Fellow resident Pat Rawlings labelled the situation “crazy”.

The 73-year-old, who has lived in the complex for 11 years, added: “It’s just not acceptable. I have had a knee operation and I’m having to get to hospital appointments by going down five flights of stairs - and my doctor has told me to stop.

“We have had all the excuses; waiting for parts, ordered an engineer, you name it. It’s crazy.”

A Notting Hill Genesis spokesperson said: “We are aware that there have been ongoing problems with the lift at Fivefields Court and apologise for any inconvenience that has caused to residents.

"There have been unacceptable delays in diagnosing and repairing the problem, but engineers will be on site today.

“There is a stair lift at the scheme, but it does require extra assistance for residents, which staff have been providing.

“Senior staff will also be visiting Fivefields Court in the coming days to speak to residents and answer any questions they may have.”

On its website, the association describes the complex as entirely accessible by wheelchair.

It has “non-resident management staff”, which are accessible 24 hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.

Rents start at £83 per week.