Pensioner can't leave home because of 'obstacle course' outside

Paul Carter and Madeleine Carter

Paul Carter and his mum Madeleine say they've been trying to get the council to take action over issues at the court for months - Credit: Paul Carter

An 84-year-old woman living in a council-owned bungalow hasn't stepped off her doorstep in six weeks, claiming her surroundings are an "obstacle course".

Madeleine Carter has lived at Whitebeam Court in Motum Road in Norwich for the last 25 years.

But her son Paul Carter says the maintenance of the outside area — and as a result his mum's physical and mental health — has gone "seriously downhill".

Madeleine Carter, 84

Madeleine Carter, 84, said she was scared to leave the house. This is her in May before she required a walker and could still use her sticks - Credit: Paul Carter

The retired wholesaler said: "This is a court for the elderly and disabled and it's being left to rot. It's an absolute disgrace.

"My mum went into hospital a couple of months ago. In the six weeks since she's been back, she hasn't left the house once.


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"She used to have sticks but now she has a walker. It doesn't even move over the ground because it's that uneven."

Madeleine Carter and her son Paul said issues at Whitebeam Court had been going on for months

Madeleine Carter and her son Paul said issues at Whitebeam Court had been going on for months - Credit: Paul Carter

Hanging branches at Whitebeam Court in Norwich

Hanging branches at Whitebeam Court in Norwich - Credit: Paul Carter

The main issues at the court relate to wonky and broken pavement slabs, dumped rubbish blocking walkways, rotten and broken benches, overhanging trees and a general lack of maintenance - with the council promising to get to the work soon.

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Mr Carter said his mum was living in "fear" and had become completely reliant on himself and his wife Linda.

The 84-year-old said she had already suffered multiple falls on account of the rough terrain and low-lying hazards, explaining: "It feels like an obstacle course out there. I don't trust myself going outside anymore."

Mr Carter said he'd asked the council to take urgent action in May, which resulted in officers cordoning off the dodgy pavements and benches — but "nothing else".

Madeleine Carter and her son Paul said issues at Whitebeam Court had been going on for months

Madeleine Carter and her son Paul said issues at Whitebeam Court had been going on for months - Credit: Paul Carter

A Norwich City Council spokeswoman disputed Mr Carter's accusations that his mum was being "ignored". 

However the spokeswoman explained the work required sat outside of routine maintenance and the council needed time to arrange a plan with contractors.

She assured the family: "Since visiting Whitebeam Court to discuss residents' concerns, officers have arranged for improvements such as resurfacing with tree protection and replacement of benches.

"That work is due to begin imminently.

"We thank residents for their patience and hope the changes improve the look and feel of the area surrounding their home."

Rubbish in the walkways at Whitebeam Court

Rubbish in the walkways at Whitebeam Court - Credit: Paul Carter

Paul Carter said the paving slabs were a hazard at Whitebeam Court

Paul Carter said the paving slabs were a hazard at Whitebeam Court - Credit: Paul Carter

She added that homeowners were always encouraged to contact the council about improvements needed in their local area.

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