New Malden pensioner stuck in vandalised flats says he wants to move to Buckingham Palace

  Posted: 13.01.22 at 18:36 by James Mayer, Local Democracy Reporter

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A 69-year-old-man stuck in a first floor flat because vandals batter the elevator says he wants to be moved to "Buckingham Palace or Battersea Dogs Home."

Stuart Smethurst has lived in his New Malden flat in Kingston since 2008 and said he "might just die before anything gets done."

The 69-year-old has mobility and respiratory problems and is on the first floor, making it hard to enter and exit the flat when the lift is vandalised.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Stuart said: "I’ve collapsed in the street a few times and had to go to hospital."

He added: "I’m trying to get rehoused. I applied through the council years ago and my name was on the list and it seemed something was going to happen."

But he said: "Zero has happened, absolutely nothing.

Stuart has no cold water in the kitchen, so has to fill a jug up from the bathroom (Image: James Mayer)

"I’m aware there are difficulties and Adult Social Care is a Cinderella, they’ve got no money, they are overworked and underpaid but I think I might just die before anything gets done."

The 69-year-old added: "There are vandals in these flats that are constantly kicking the front door of the block in and disrupting the lift so I can’t always get the lift."

When the lift isn’t working, Stuart is forced to take the stairs "very carefully" because of his mobility problems.

He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service he wants to be rehoused in a ground floor flat.

When asked if he feels left behind, Stuart said he does.

Stuart wants to be moved to a ground floor home (Image: James Mayer)

Stuart said: "I’ve also got no cold water in the kitchen so have to fill up a jug from the bathroom.

"Getting a plumber to fix [the water in the kitchen] is just impossible."

He claimed PA Housing, which manages the building, only come out to fix emergency problems such as if someone was trapped in the lift or gas leaks.

When asked if Stuart feels safe in his flat, he said: "No, I’m an old geezer now, I have vulnerabilities and I’m not as self-reliant as I used to be."

He added: "Move me into Buckingham Palace or Battersea Dogs Home."

Emma Solomons, head of housing services at PA Housing, said: "Our team offers support to residents and there is definitely more we can do to help Mr Smethurst.

"Residents are able to contact us in a number ways: by telephone, by email, by text, and through the MyPA app; however, we appreciate that Mr Smethurst is currently unable to get online. We will contact him by phone to start moving things forward and addressing his concerns.

"We were not aware of the problem with Mr Smethurst’s tap, but we will start by arranging for a handyperson to visit him to fix it this week."

A Kingston Council spokesperson said: "Mr Smethurst applied to join the Housing Register in March 2021 with the assistance of a support worker from the council’s Resettlement Team.

"No further contact or documents have been received and without this it has not been possible to progress the assessment of his application.

"We are very sorry to hear how Mr Smethurst has been feeling and a support worker will be following up with him."

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