Disabled man’s bin struggle

Partially sighted Phil Butterworth cannot see the numbers on a coded padlock recently installed at communal bins at his apartment
Partially sighted Phil Butterworth cannot see the numbers on a coded padlock recently installed at communal bins at his apartment
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A partially-sighted pensioner has slammed a housing company’s decision to put a coded lock on a door to his bins.

Retired toy importer Phil Butterworth, 65, who lives at New Hampshire Court in Ansdell, has a degenerative eye condition that means he is not allowed to drive. He says his disability makes it impossible for him to read the numbers flat residents must type into the lock to open the bin store.

He said: “I can see the lock but I can’t see the numbers. When it’s dark or raining, everything’s just a blur. I had a backlog of stinking rubbish in my apartment for a week that I had to put it out on my balcony to get away from the smell.

“I think it’s ridiculous. If they want to put locks on the doors I have got nothing against it but it doesn’t need to be a keypad. They could have put an ordinary padlock on it with a key, or put a reader for a swipe card on it, and that would have been just fine.”

Mr Butterworth added that he has complained several times to housing company Homestead Housing, which owns his block.

He said: “I’ve phoned about four times. They just don’t want to know. I consider it discrimination against a disabled man, which is a very serious issue in my opinion.”

But David Benson, managing director at Homestead Housing, said the lock was placed on the door to prevent people who do not live in the building from dumping their rubbish in the bins – and that they had not been contacted with any complaints.

He said: “There are three key pads for access at New Hampshire Court: one on each of the communal front doors which were installed by the developer when the property was built 10 years ago.

“These have been operated without complaint from any tenant or owner including Mr Butterworth throughout this time.

“A third key pad has been installed recently on one of the two external bin stores to prevent illegal tipping.”

He said that recent damage to the coded lock meant that directors had reviewed the situation and resolved to replace the lock with a simple latch in the near future.