St Albans woman slams council for not accommodating disabled visitors

Yvonne Robertson and her disabled mother had issues parking in Charter Close, St Albans.

Yvonne Robertson and her disabled mother had issues parking in Charter Close, St Albans.

Archant

A woman who received a parking ticket after taking her disabled mother into town has slammed the council for not accommodating disabled residents and visitors.

Yvonne Robertson, 60, of Jersey Farm, took her 79-year-old disabled mother to St Albans city centre when she visited for the weekend recently and parked in Charter Close with a disabled badge.

But when Yvonne and her mother returned to the car, they had been slapped with a parking fine, despite being sure that they had parked legally.

Yvonne said that there was a sign at the entrance to Charter Close which read, ‘no unauthorised parking’, but that disabled badge holders were authorised to park on double lines.

There was another sign in the same area, at the start of the road behind the council offices, which read ‘no parking under any circumstances’.

Yvonne said she ‘genuinely believed’ they were allowed to park there, and that they were ‘not chancing it’.

She added that her mother wanted to pay the fine but Yvonne challenged it.

Yvonne went on: “The letter [we received from the council] cancelled the fine but it was curt and did not offer any apology for the lack of clear notices.”

She added: “There is space to park without causing any obstructions and any disabled driver parking on double lines and causing an obstruction would be liable to a fine anyway so that is not a reason for preventing any disabled parking in the area.

“Whatever their claims the point is that the council should be facilitating parking for disabled residents and visitors, not making their lives difficult.

“I wonder how many other disabled and elderly people have been ticketed and have been intimidated into paying the fine?”

But St Albans district council said that the parking officer was within his/her right to issue the ticket, and that council has a policy of cancelling first time contraventions for blue badge holders.

Mike Lovelady, the council’s head of legal, democratic and regulatory services, said: “The vehicle in question was parked on double yellow lines in the private road, Charter Close.

“At the entrance to Charter Close there is a sign that clearly says “private road no unauthorised parking”. Blue disabled badges are not valid in private access roads and this is made clear in the booklet sent out with all blue badges to holders.”

He went on: “The council has a policy of facilitating disabled drivers where possible and upholds the law on the special arrangements that Blue Badge holders receive. In addition, it also allows disabled drivers to park free of charge in our car parks for the first three hours.”

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