Crack down where right but show tolerance too

Cheryl Gibbs' niece Hollie, right, who has alopecia, and Amy Norton, 10, who cut her hair off for a wig-making charity

CHERYL GIBBS: I’m in awe of the courage of these two little heroes

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The issue of parking – or rather the lack of it – has been in the news a lot recently, and has sparked a lot of passionate debate on our website and social media pages as well.

Whatever your views on work vans, whatever your beliefs on multi-vehicle households, and whatever you think about residents’ parking zones, one thing that can be agreed on is that there basically isn’t enough space to go round. And certainly not enough for everyone to be able to store their car quickly and conveniently.

Now, most people who live on Portsea Island – and many other terraced areas too, as we would never claim that this issue is exclusive to Portsmouth – realise that concessions have to be made. You’re not going to get a space outside your house every day, for example. But also what most people understand is that you can’t and shouldn’t play the system. There isn’t a magic fix to the problem – a ‘hack’, as the younger generation calls it – and if there was everyone would be at it.

And that’s why we’re foursquare behind the city council in its series of prosecutions for blue badge abuse. The latest offender used her late grandmother’s disabled blue badge as an attempt to dodge paying for on-street parking near Gunwharf Quays. Her issue was with the cost of parking, not the lack of availability, but the same principle applies – a blue badge isn’t a fix for the able-bodied to avoid shelling out a few quid. Emily Davis should have dealt with the fact she would have to pay to park in a popular area. End of.

But... there’s always a but. While we agree with all blue badge abuse prosecutions, we’re less convinced by a fine imposed on someone featured in another story. Taking his version of events at face value – and we have no reason to do otherwise – Jim Derry has been harshly treated.

He stopped on briefly by a dropped kerb near his home to unload some packets of tiles on a Sunday, and a warden fined him for a stop of a couple of minutes at most. Here’s where a quiet word would not have gone amiss. We need our authority figures to have power, sure; but we would also argue that they should have a human face.

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