King’s Lynn couple left trapped in their home as power line repairs block gate

Roadworks ANL-140320-121637001
Roadworks ANL-140320-121637001
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A couple were left trapped in their home for almost 24 hours when electricity works blocked their gateway.

Hannah Palfrey and Leon Turvey say they only became aware of the repairs taking place outside their home in Providence Street, Lynn, when friends visited them on Wednesday afternoon and were unable to get in.

Hannah Palfrey and Leon Turvey, whose gate was blocked by electricity works

Hannah Palfrey and Leon Turvey, whose gate was blocked by electricity works

One of the visitors was injured as he tried to climb over the fence to access the property.

UK Power Networks officials yesterday apologised after their engineers cut the chain to another gate, belonging to the owner of the neighbouring property, to allow the couple access.

However, the firm maintains its staff did try to notify the couple before the work, which is due to be completed today, got underway.

Miss Palfrey said she and Mr Turvey, who have lived at the property for the past year, had been spring cleaning when their guests arrived and found the gateway blocked.

She said that, while she may have been able to climb over the fence in an emergency, Mr Turvey would not because of weakness in his legs.

“It’s a good job we didn’t have a fire”, she said.

West Norfolk Council housing officers were also called to investigate the issue yesterday.While the Lynn News was present, engineers cut the chain to a gate belonging to the next door property after the occupiers agreed.

Damien Simone, director of letting agents Edmonton Estates, said he has made a formal complaint about how the work was handled.

He said: “We are liable for keeping them safe and if they can’t get out of that gate, they are not safe.”

He said planning regulations required written notice to be given at least two weeks ahead of the work starting, adding: “That has not happened.”

A UK Power Networks spokeswoman said their engineers were carrying out “vital” repairs to equipment on the underground cable network in the area, which they expect to complete today.

She said: “Our engineers believed that the residents had access to their home through a second gate.

“Although they did knock on the door of the customer’s home several times when the work began, no-one answered.

“In light of the customer’s concerns we are working as quickly as possible to complete the work.

“We sincerely apologise to our customers for any inconvenience while this essential work is being carried out.”