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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 November 2005, 09:52 GMT
Elderly couple 'trapped' in flat
The Gwalia building circa 2001 (pic: Powys Council)
Mr and Mrs Davies have lived in the Gwalia for 50 years
An elderly couple say they have become virtual prisoners in their third-floor flat since the lift broke down.

Herbert Davies, 94, and his wife Margaret, 89, from Llandrindod Wells in Powys, said they were told it could take six months before it is fixed.

The lift in the Victorian building has already been out of action for three months, leaving the pair stranded in their home of 50 years.

Powys Council is "working hard to solve the problem as quickly as possible".

Friends and relatives of the couple have been forced to deliver the couple's shopping to their flat in the historic, council-owned Gwalia building.

The building is listed for its historic interest, which means repairs have to be carried out in accordance with strict guidelines.

Three flights of stairs separate the couple from the outside world and Mrs Davies said she had only managed to go out a couple of times to shop.

She said climbing the stairs with bags of shopping was "very difficult" for someone of her age.

We are virtually prisoners in our own home
Margaret Davies

Mr Davies, a former council caretaker, was given the three-bedroom flat with his job and stayed on when he retired.

Powys Council said repairs would be completed "as quickly as possible", but added that changes to a listed building had to be carried out "sympathetically".

Mrs Davies said: "The lift broke down about three months ago and I've gone out a few times, but I find it very difficult climbing the stairs with all the shopping.

"I've stopped doing it now and family and friends have been helping, but I feel guilty asking them."

Former Royal Navy sailor Mr Davies, who was a Japanese prisoner of war, had to be carried out of his flat by paramedics recently when he needed hospital treatment.

Llandrindod Wells
Mr Davies worked as a council caretaker in Llandrindod Wells

"We are virtually prisoners in our own home," said Mrs Davies.

"We did used to go out walking before the lift broke down, but now we're house bound.

"We've been told it could be six months until the lift is fixed."

A council spokeswoman said: "The lift is more than 50 years old and has needed considerable maintenance in the past just to keep it working.

"Recently, however, it has suffered major problems and cannot be used for health and safety reasons. The council is looking to replace the lift.

"Removing a lift and installing a replacement in a listed building is a specialist task and unfortunately is unlikely to be completed for several months."

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