Is this Discrimination Against Disabled Residents?
I love Cirencester – I lived here for almost 40 years, and now live just outside in Down Ampney. The redesign of our Market Place allowing for stalls and activities in a larger area in front of the Parish Church was an excellent idea – safe from moving traffic and now vibrant – but do you remember the 4 disabled spaces which used to be in front of the church? They have gone – and now not only are there none in our Market, but it has been made a restricted area so blue badge holders cannot park beside the kerb (apart from just in front of Barclays Bank) – the spaces in the centre are too narrow to allow them to fully open their car doors. Yes, there are extra disabled spaces in both The Brewery and Forum Car Parks – but some can’t walk that distance.
Five years ago, having been widowed, I remarried. Since then, Terry, my husband, has had three strokes. His balance is gone, and although he goes to the gym and exercises daily, he is unable to walk more than a few yards. There are now many things that Terry can no longer do but he is, however, still allowed to drive having passed several different medical tests and examinations. He still runs a business employing 20 people and is independent.
Disabled driver information says that you can park for a limited time provided you do not cause an obstruction. Our Market Place looks great without a proliferation of signs and lines, but many disabled drivers have been fined as few realise that parking is not allowed in this restricted area – and Terry was one of these. There are small signs saying that it is a restricted area. No loading allowed – but few appreciate that this includes blue badge holders. Thinking of his human rights to be allowed to park near his bank Terry decided to fight this fine.
So far, he has spent £17,000 in legal fees – our solicitor decided we needed a barrister, but he is fighting on principle. He wants a minimum of 2 spaces for disabled drivers in our Market, and his fees paid. This has now dragged on for months with our fees mounting all the time, and if we win, we only get about 60% of fees back. We are not wealthy although we have a comfortable home.
We wondered how many of your readers had been similarly fined whilst using blue badges in our Market Place. The 2014 photo (that we have) shows the 4 disabled spaces in the Market Place – and the need must now be even greater with an ageing population: Our County Council is discriminating against the disabled.
Jackie Gloyn Ormerod
6 The Pheasantry, Down Ampney, GL7 5RE.
Text 07970 969639
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