Page last updated at 10:34 GMT, Friday, 7 August 2009 11:34 UK

Stairlift fitting delay apology

George Norman, 75, said: "You look at the walls and wish they could talk to you."

A 75-year-old man who cannot walk has been confined to the upstairs of his home for more than a year after the council failed to fit a stairlift.

George Norman, who has diabetes and Alzheimer's disease, asked for a stairlift to be fitted at his home in Luton, Bedfordshire, in June 2008.

His family said he had been downstairs only a few times in the last year.

The council apologised for the delay and said contracts for work to fit the stairlift would be signed this week.

Mr Norman's wife Joyce, 72, said: "It's been a tough year.

"Only on very odd occasions has George been downstairs. It's not just getting him down, but getting him back up again.

"The council came out to assess the house and started talking about wet rooms and ramps.

"I said to them that all I was interested in was a stairlift but they pushed for all the other things."

A council spokeswoman said it had been trying to co-ordinate fitting the stairlift with improvements to the couple's bathroom to minimise disruption.

She said: "To minimise disruption to the clients, we have been attempting to co-ordinate the work so it is undertaken at the same time.

"We are in negotiations with both the lift company and the building contractor to arrange start dates and will be contacting Mr and Mrs Norman this week to sign the contracts."

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