Lift repairs force Jedburgh pensioners to move to Hawick

Jedburgh councillor Jim Brown at Richmond Row.
Jedburgh councillor Jim Brown at Richmond Row.

Pensioners in Jedburgh have been temporarily rehomed more than 10 miles away until the lift in their housing block is fixed.

Some residents of Richmond Row, a block of 11 flats next to the River Jed, have been moved to Hawick until May.

The lift at the Scottish Borders Housing Association complex, occupied solely by pensioners, has been out of action since before February and requires specialist parts to be made for its repair.

That has meant two residents reliant on the lift have had to be rehomed.

Jedburgh councillor Jim Brown is now questioning whether the complex is suitable for elderly people.

“I am very disappointed to hear that local people are being forced to take up temporary residence in Hawick,” he said. “It will be very inconvenient for home visits and for friends and family to keep an eye on their wellbeing.

“What with the flooding issues a couple of years ago and now this, I am beginning to wonder if Richmond Row is really a suitable residence for elderly people.”

The block is prone to flooding and is protected by Scottish Borders Council-operated flood gates.

“Last week they had to come and close the gates, but they close the gates and then forget about them,” Mr Brown added. “It was three days before they opened them again.

“Folk with mobility scooters are then stuck in.

“Thankfully, in a way, it’s those residents who have been moved away.

“I know systems are in place, but I would urge both SBC and SBHA to think about the old people and have some empathy for these folk.”

An SBHA spokeswoman confirmed it is improving lifts at both Richmond Row and at Westport in Hawick.

“These works were expected to be complete by the end of March,” she said. “In early February our contractor was carrying out required safety testing in preparation for the works and this identified an issue at Richmond Row.

“New parts are being manufactured and we expect the lift to be back in operation mid-May after the safety improvements and refurbishment is complete.

“Our community team has been working closely with tenants and their families affected by the lift closure to put in place additional arrangements including alternative accommodation where required.

“Keeping tenants safe is a priority for SBHA and we apologise for the inconvenience this is causing our tenants and their families.”