Scooters left out in cold as owner told to take away shelter
AN ARTHRITIC man has been ordered to remove the shelter he put up to keep his mobility scooters dry.
Keith Butcher bought the £160 motorcycle cover because he was no longer able to pull a cover over the scooters.
SAFE KEEPING: Keith Butcher with his scooter and the shelter. How The Sentinel covered the gazebo ban in March. Picture: Shaun Smith
But Beth Johnson Housing Association has now told the 57-year-old – who says the scooters are his only means of transport – to remove the structure from the car park at St Johns Place in Biddulph.
Managers have also told him to stop trailing a heavy-duty cable across the area while charging his scooters as it poses a health and safety risk.
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Mr Butcher said: "You would think with it being a housing association and there being all these disabled people they would accept it."
The row echoes a disagreement in the summer, when Beth Johnson ordered residents to remove an outdoor gazebo which housed a television and barbecue. A compromise was later reached.
The latest disagreement stems from the retired Rolls Royce worker's osteoarthritis, which has limited his mobility to the extent that some months ago he bought two scooters – one for roads and one for pavements. He said he originally stored the scooters close to his flat and pulled a sheet over them, but had found it increasingly hard to do.
He bought the shelter off the internet, thinking that it would be small enough to fit inside a space in the car park but large enough to house the scooters.
He said he uses a caravan-style heavy power cable to charge them, but only for short spells when he is sure that neighbours would not need to go across it to access their properties. He said: "I checked the dimensions of it and it was smaller than a car would be in the same space, so I thought it would be fine."
But Mr Butcher then received a letter requesting that he remove the shelter and stop trailing the wire. Managers said that the housing association had not given permission for the structure, and that wires could be a trip hazard and were potentially dangerous.
He said: "They have not suggested an alternative."
Neighbours William and Maggie Forster were not impressed at Beth Johnson's response.
Mr Forster, aged 58, said: "Keith's condition has been getting worse but Beth Johnson does not seem to be taking any notice whatsoever."
The parking spaces at St John's Place are not designated to specific flats. Mr Butcher currently has a car and two mobility scooters which he keeps on this car park, as well as a camper van from time to time.
A spokesman for Beth Johnson said Mr Butcher's shelter "restricts the rights of other residents to this space" and the electrical cables pose health and safety risks.
The spokesman added: "The cables have now been removed and we will be discussing the removal of the shelter with Mr Butcher as a matter of urgency.
"We will consult with Mr Butcher regarding his requirements and discuss the options available to him. We would remind all our resident that under the terms of their tenancy agreement they should seek permission before carrying out any alterations to their homes or facilities."