London Colney woman finally gets a disabled parking bay outside her home after waiting two years for council to install it
PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 December 2017
Danny Loo Photography 2017
A London Colney woman has finally obtained a disabled parking bay outside her home after a two-year wait.
Joan Thomas, 62, of Bluett Road, originally applied to St Albans council for a bay in September 2015.
Mrs Thomas, who suffers from scoliosis and severe respiratory problems, said: “It gives me more of a chance of being able to park outside.”
She originally did not apply for a space when her and her husband moved to the one-bedroom flat, as parking was not a problem at the time.
But since then more and more cars have started parking in the area, and it has become harder to find a space.
“I do not come out in the evenings because I do not know if I will be able to park again,” she revealed.
Mrs Thomas uses a walker, and if she could not park nearby she would have to walk back in the wet and cold.
So she applied to St Albans council for a disabled bay in September 2015, then rang back a month later and was told she had submitted the wrong form.
She duly resubmitted the documents, but then found out the council only sends the applications to highways authority Herts County Council once a year.
A petition was then sent to her and 49 neighbours asking if there were any objections to the bay, which there weren’t.
Mrs Thomas said: “Our previous house was in Torquay, and that was a matter of phone up, the council come round to check, and they ask the police if it will block anything. It was a six-week turnaround.
“I appreciate there is a process but it did seem to be taking an awfully long time.”
Mrs Thomas believes it took so long because the bays are enforced and people who park there without a disabled badge are fined.
Disabled parking for residents requires a traffic regulation order, and must satisfy certain criteria covering the local parking demand, if the applicant has off-street parking, the applicant’s ability to move independently, if they have a blue badge, and traffic flows.
Mrs Thomas said: “They do not seem to communicate, that is the bigger problem. Unless you ask they do not tell you what is going on.
“It’s not just for the benefit of me. The lady next door has a disabled badge so if her family come to pick her up they can use it.
“Disabled people do not ask for help much, but when they do they need it at a reasonable pace.”
Although her request has now been granted, Mrs Thomas then had to wait for contractors to install the bay.
The council told her earlier this month the work had been delayed as the bay could not be installed in the wet.
St Albans council’s head of community services Debbi White said; “I am pleased to say a disabled bay has been authorised for this resident’s street and she has been made aware of this. I hope this makes things easier for her.
“We are now waiting for our contractor to schedule the work to mark out the bay and install the required signs. As soon as we are given a date, we will let her know.
“Anyone who applies for a disabled bay in their street is faced with a wait of two years or so before it can be agreed.
“I know this can seem like a long time, but there are complex legal requirements that we have to satisfy. We also need to consult with residents and other interested parties, then weigh up any objections that are raised.
“The issues involved also go before councillors on the car parking working party that meets every quarter.
“We make all applicants aware of this time scale when they apply for a disabled bay and advertise it prominently on our website.”