WORK has started on providing a ramp so a wheelchair-using arthritis sufferer can get in and out of his flat after intervention by the Lancashire Telegraph.

Stephen Wright, 56, has lived in a ground-floor apartment in Lancaster Drive, Padiham, owned by Burnley-based social housing provider Calico Homes for almost three years.

He suffers from osteopenia, a progressive arthritic and bone condition, and fused discs in his back which restrict his ability to walk to just a few yards, with a stick.

As he became steadily more restricted to a wheelchair and motability scooter, earlier this year he asked Calico to provide a ramp so he could negotiate a step outside his block of flats without help from neighbours.

He enlisted help from Stewart Barber, of the Stonemoor Bottom Residents Group, but says he was then passed between Calico and Lancashire County Council (LCC) social services department for several months with no sign of a ramp being built. Following the intervention of the Lancashire Telegraph, his housing provider has now apologised, been in contact to promise a ramp and sent out its staff to measure up the step so it can be installed.

Ex-taxi driver Mr Wright said: “I was at my wit’s end. I couldn’t get either of my wheelchairs over the step to get in or out without help. I was relying on neighbours to assist me when all I needed was a ramp.

“I and Mr Barber tried to sort something out but we got constantly referred by Calico to the county council and by their social services department back to Calico.

“Since I contacted the Lancashire Telegraph, which rang Calico, all that has changed. Calico have been in touch and sent workmen out to measure up for the ramp.

“It’s suddenly all happening and I am so grateful to the paper for intervening.”

Mr Barber, of Malvern Avenue, said: “I rang both Calico and the county council but nothing happened. There is a ramp over the step on the block where I live and I cannot see why Calico couldn’t fit one on his.”

Nichola Wright, assistant director of customer services for Calico Homes, said: “We’re sorry that we have not been able to deliver the service we would have liked to in this instance.

“We are working closely with the tenant to address his concerns and ensure he is able to live in a property that meets his needs.”

An LCC spokesman said: “We have no record of a formal request for a ramp.”