Lack of intercom leaves stair like public toilet

Tracey Howatson, pictured with daughter Lauren, is sick of the broken buzzer. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Tracey Howatson, pictured with daughter Lauren, is sick of the broken buzzer. Picture: Ian Rutherford

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A CHILDMINDER has hit out at housing chiefs for leaving a block of flats without an electronic entry system – leaving the stairwell resembling a “public toilet”.

Tracey Howatson, 41, who lives in a top-floor flat in Murrayburn Gardens, has been left at her “wits’ end” because of the faulty intercom system at her home.

Her neighbours, fed up with not knowing when visitors or deliveries have arrived, have begun propping the main door open – only to find the communal stair is being used as a 
toilet by unwelcome guests.

Tracey, who lives with her three daughters and husband Billy, 51, a nightshift cleaner, said: “The intercom hasn’t worked since we moved in to this flat eight years ago. In fact, half of the houses in this area have no intercom systems.

“But because someone has bought one of the houses in the stair and is refusing to pay his share the council won’t replace it.

“People are urinating and defecating in the stair – the council won’t come and clean it up so we have to do it.

“They said it was because of the health and safety of the workers, but what about the health hazard to us?

“Myself and some of the other residents have complained to the council over and over again. We just want it fixed, it’s been going on far too long.”

Mrs Howatson, who runs a childminding business from her home, said some residents had started wedging open the door, which can only be accessed with a key.

But as a result, the stair is being used as a “public toilet” at least twice a week.

She said: “If we have parcels getting delivered we have to sit at the bottom of the stair or hang out of a window watching for them.

“And if we have visitors, we have to go downstairs to let them in. When I have parents coming I have to drag all the children downstairs then back up again.

“People are getting fed up and jamming the door open and that’s how people are sneaking in to the building. We’re all getting depressed at the state of the stairs and the smell. No-one should have to live like this – I can’t bring toddlers round to a stair like this.”

A spokeswoman for the city council insisted the stair was cleaned regularly, with additional visits carried out swiftly on request.

The spokeswoman added: “We are aware that the intercom system is in need of repair and have been in contact with residents to arrange for this to be carried out.

“As not all the properties are council tenancies, we have to have the agreement of all residents before action can be taken and this is something we will continue to pursue. In the meantime, the entry system has been checked and is secure. The only access to the building is by key.”

In 2007, tenants in the same block of flats hit out at the city council over the quality of a paint job in the stairwell, which had been damaged by fire.