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News and Comment November 2012

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22 November (Part 1) - Bexley council mistreating the disabled?

Penalty Charge Notice Penalty Charge NoticeFour people have drawn my attention to this week’s News Shopper story about a disabled driver who is going to desert Bexleyheath in favour of other shopping centres because he has to wait “two or three hours for a space to free up”.

I find that very hard to believe. It’s not that I am unsympathetic to the disabled, my daughter was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 17 just after being accepted into a London ballet company. Of the ten friends I see most often five have blue badges.

I have first hand experience of how expensive if can be to be disabled especially if you are not so bad that you can’t use a car but not good enough to use public transport. It effects your earning capacity, your mobile phone bill and racks up taxi fares. Then there is the occasional parking fine because someone has smashed your windscreen, stolen your badge and causes £50 daily taxi fares while the car is repaired. Not to mention the fact that not all councils allow the free use of residents’ parking bays and it can be expensive to assume they do.

All things considered, Bexley is not a bad place for disabled drivers to be. There is a car park exclusively for them as near to the town centre as any can be, they can park free in any ordinary bay - and the man in the News Shopper is not confined to a wheelchair and all the paraphernalia of a rear space demanding ramp - and on yellow lines for up to three hours.

Another plus for the disabled is that councillor Peter Craske has been especially kind to them. Thanks to his phone and credit card only parking scheme, nearly all the spaces that used to be adorned with a parking meter remain unoccupied and free most of the time.

Sorry, I can’t see what the problem is. Unless of course you park in a disabled bay and still get a ticket. See pictures.


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