Disabled hit by lazy parkers

DISABLED drivers are unable to find free parking spaces in a town centre because of ignorant drivers, it has been claimed. David Monck, 63, has voiced his disappointment over disabled bays in Hitchin often being used by drivers who do not have disabled ba

DISABLED drivers are unable to find free parking spaces in a town centre because of ignorant drivers, it has been claimed.

David Monck, 63, has voiced his disappointment over disabled bays in Hitchin often being used by drivers who do not have disabled badges

On a recent shopping trip to the town, Mr Monck, of Biggleswade Road, Dunton, had to do two circuits of the town centre to find a free space as many dedicated disabled bays were being used by lorries unloading their goods or cars without badges.

"On the day of the farmers' market I drove past Woolworth's and all the bays were full, but then it is marked disabled and loading. Judging by the absence of blue disabled badges on the cars everyone parked there was loading at the time.


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"Having circled around, I returned to the square to find a large lorry unloading, occupying two disabled bays, despite the two loading bays in front of it being empty.

"The driver said he'd "only be a minute", something I've heard before many, many times."

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Twenty minutes later Mr Monck returned to the same spot and the lorry was still parked there.

Having mobility problems following two aortal aneurysms, Mr Monck said: "It is a bit disappointing that there seems to be no monitoring of the situation.

"It increased last year, and was especially noticeable in the supermarket car parks - and not only in the disabled bays, but also in the mother and child ones - which must annoy those who have taken the trouble to register for them.

"In the Hitchin Market Place area it would be helpful if a few more disabled bays could be marked up or existing ones extended to take a couple of normal size cars."

There are currently a total of 1,210 parking spaces in Hitchin plus dedicated disabled bays in Hitchin town centre, of which seven are in the High Street, five in the Market Place and two more in Sun Street.

There is also a 10-space off-street car park solely for the use of disabled drivers at the rear of the Arcade.

In addition to these parking spaces, all town centre car parks have dedicated free disabled bays marked out.

A spokesman for North Herts District Council said the disabled bays are randomly monitored throughout the restricted periods of the day and there is a zero tolerance policy for this offence.

He said: "There are always at least three parking attendants patrolling Hitchin, four on market day.

"North Hertfordshire District Council takes a serious view of drivers who abuse parking in a bay designated for the disabled, and will always issue a penalty charge notice for this contravention."

Covering the period of December 1, 2005, to November 30, 2006, the council's parking attendants issued 1,249 on-street and 208 off-street (car parks) penalty charge notices for this offence. Drivers face a £30 fine if they pay within two weeks and if they fail this increases to £60.

This was for the whole of North Hertfordshire as the council cannot separate Hitchin figures on their own, although it is believed that the town accounted for almost half of the total.

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