We were, it turned out, caught between a rock and a hard place with Worthing’s parking system on November 19.
We needed to get our parking permit for Zone H renewed, so my carer parked in Chapel Road, outside Scope, in the disabled bay, displaying a valid blue badge.
We went off to the Parking Shop to find that to get a disabled parking permit, we needed to take the blue badge with us, and as it turned out, our driving licence did not count as proof of where we live, even though we had other proof, in the form of official letters with name and address address on, so we had to return home to get some more proof.
Upon returning to the same spot, we deliberated what we should do, as we now needed to both display the badge and take it to the Parking shop as proof of disability.
We figured that it would be worse just to leave the car and us both go to the Parking Shop and as we have a disabled class Vehicle Licence Duty in our car, it made sense, in our heads, at least, that I stay behind whilst my carer popped into the Parking Shop to sort out the Zone H permit.
A civil enforcement officer (CEO) lady came to the car to talk to me.
She asked if I had a valid disabled badge, to which I replied yes, and I explained that the Parking shop had also requested to see it so my carer had just popped in with it and would be back shortly.
She told me that she would have to issue a penalty charge notice.
I asked if she’d mind getting my wheelchair out of the back of the car for me to enable me to fetch my husband, to which she replied that she couldn’t do that for me.
I showed her that we had the disabled class tax disc to which you are not entitled unless you have serious mobility issues and I believe a disabled badge, she said that she had seen the disabled class tax disc but it wouldn’t make a difference.
At this point my carer came running back up the road with the valid disabled badge and all the paperwork from the Parking
Shop including the Zone H permit.
All this happened inside of two minutes and the CEO put the ticket on the car.
I am not looking for sympathy of any kind by writing in, but I do wonder where common sense has gone?
How can two representatives of Worthing Borough Council want something from a person but not have a system in place where there is a little leeway?
I said at the beginning that to a degree I feel lucky because my health problems are so much bigger than a parking ticket and we have never had a parking ticket in our lives before so it has been an experience, but more than anything I feel so very sad, for the CEO who has to enforce this without having a little discretion, for the council as it seems that they are unpopular with because people feel so aghast with the parking situation, and for shopkeepers who despite their best efforts must be affected by the red tape and bureaucracy.
Isn’t it time that common sense prevailed?