September 23 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Unhappy tenants have hit out at Norwich City Council over their bathrooms, branding the authority inflexible over whether homes are fitted with showers or baths.
An elderly woman who would rather have a shower than a bath and a young mum who says a shower is no good for bathing her baby have called on the authority to make the swap.
But the city council says it cannot be constantly changing baths for showers and vice-versa.
It says, while it would install showers for disabled people if assessments deem that appropriate, tenants were made aware of what sort of bathroom properties had before they moved in.
The 81-year-old woman, who has arthritis, said: “I live on my own and cannot safely get in and out of a bath; a shower is what I really need.”
And the young mum, who has a wet room with a shower, but would rather have a bath for her one-year-old son, said the council should be more flexible.
She said: “I moved in about 17 months ago and they never told me they wouldn’t change the wet room. I had a surveyor come round saying there were going to be some bathroom upgrades.
“Then I received a letter saying I’d be getting one. But when the contractors came round and saw it was a wet room, they said they didn’t have a contract to change those.
“It’s so frustrating. At the moment I am using an inflatable bath for my son, but he’s getting too big for that.”
James Wright, Liberal Democrat group leader at City Hall, said: “I would have thought that there were enough positives to make the city council change their minds on this issue.
“In Eaton, where the upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms are taking place, we have come across cases where tenants are unable to have straightforward facilities that will help them with day-to-day living.”
But a city council spokesman said: “Any adaptations that have been made within a property will always be discussed with the prospective tenant, and ultimately it is always the individual’s choice whether they choose to accept the property or wait for another one to become available, if they have a personal preference.
“Tenants are welcome to replace the bathroom at their own expense with our written consent, but as a council it does not make financial sense for us to change bathrooms back and forth.”
He said, as part of the “Norwich Standard”, showers over baths were being installed as standard in bathroom upgrades.
The majority of council homes would have showers over baths installed by the end of 2017.
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