Housebound residents at a Barnstaple sheltered housing complex can at last rejoin the outside world after their faulty lift was repaired following a six week breakdown.

Several people living in flats at the five-storey Mill Court in Mill Road, which is operated by Sanctuary Housing, have been stuck on their own floors for weeks because they are not able to use the stairs due to mobility problems.

Sanctuary has since told the Gazette the lift to the 35-flat building is now working again and it has also promised the lift will be replaced with a new one.

But it has been a frustrating period for residents, who feel they have had very little information since the saga began.

The Gazette met with a group of them who told us the lift had also broken down in September for 10 weeks, which was followed by the automated front door to the supposed secure block breaking down over Christmas and new year, with various strangers wandering in.

Sue Houston, aged 61, said very few people were attending the weekly social events held on the ground floor commmon room because they simply could not get to them.

When we spoke to her, she said: "People have not been out for six weeks, there's six that I know of.

"Some have said when the lift is available they still go out in their wheelchair, but they also need it for appointments.

"We just want somebody to shake them up a bit and speak up for us, because it's shameful."

Another resident, who did not wish to be named, said when speaking to visiting lift repair technicians they had been told their lift was now 'obsolete' and parts had to be ordered from abroad.

She said: "A lot of these people are far too ill to make a fuss. I can just make it up and down the stairs, but there are people who can't."

A spokesman for Sanctuary Housing said: "We apologise for the inconvenience the broken down lift has caused and we share residents' frustration at the time it took for the specialist parts required to arrive with our external contractors.

"The repairs were completed on May 7 and while the lift was out of action our scheme manager on site provided residents with extra assistance and support, including offers of short-term alternative accommodation to the people we knew were most reliant on the lift.

"We can confirm that we are planning to replace this lift and we will provide residents with an update as soon as a date for the work is finalised."