Disgruntled Allison Homes residents ‘feel like prisoners’

2016-01-20 10:21
Allison Homes management has come under fire from their residents who are upset after their remote controls to the vehicle gates were taken away from them last year.

Allison Homes management has come under fire from their residents who are upset after their remote controls to the vehicle gates were taken away from them last year. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - Residents at the Allison Homes in the city centre have been battling it out with management for almost a year now wanting the remote controls to their electric gates to be returned to them.

Apparently the residents’ remote controls to the vehicle entrances of the 17 villages were taken away from them as management claimed they had been “misusing” them by making copies for family.

Spokesperson for the residents, Angela Scott, said no vehicle access to their properties is now causing a major problem as the elderly residents struggle to walk carrying their shopping bags and visitors are forced to park on the “dangerous” roadside.

Allison Homes are village-style, independent cottages for seniors. There are 17 villages on Burger and Prince Alfred streets. Scott said that since their remotes were taken away, they have to park their vehicles at the main entrance and walk more than 50 metres to their cottages, sometimes with heavy shopping bags.

“I am okay to do that although it is an inconvenience, but I am speaking on behalf of those who are 80 and 90 years old and can barely walk. It is unfair to make them walk that distance,” said Scott.

She said she usually takes some of the older residents shopping, however since they are not allowed to park their vehicles outside their cottages, Scott has to park on the roadside and assist them to offload their shopping. “We have to park outside the gates and it is a real danger and inconvenience to offload shopping, help the older ones get out the vehicle and walk, some using their walking aids, to the cottages. Also it is very dangerous because we are older women with handbags and are very easy targets for criminals,” said Scott.

She claimed that on one occasion, an ambulance could not get onto the property and paramedics were forced to enter via the pedestrian gate and carry the elderly woman to the ambulance that was parked on the roadside.

She added that since the area is fairly dangerous, their family and friends choose not to visit them in their cottages because they do not want to park on the roadside.

“It is really difficult because we have our homes here and we want to entertain our friends and family. There have already been cases where cars were broken into while parked on the roadside, and people have been mugged,” she added.

Scott said things seemingly got out of hand last year and the residents elected her as spokesperson as they “began feeling like prisoners”.

After meeting with Allison Homes manager Bill Sutherland and writing to the committee and trustees, Scott said she received no joy and was told the matter was closed.

“We all appreciate the very reasonable rentals, availability of nursing staff, the clinic and library and all that. We all love living here but we just ask that management listen to us and see our point of views,” said Scott.

When asked for comment on the allegations and reasoning behind taking away the vehicle gate remote controls from residents, Sutherland said he did not have the authority to respond to The Witness’s questions.

“I am the manager of Allison Homes and report to the general committee, which meets once every two months,” Sutherland wrote in an e-mail.

He added that the next meeting was scheduled for January 25 and The Witness’s questions would be discussed then.

• kailene.pillay@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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