Anger over change to disabled parking rules in town centre

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A COMMUNITY leader has criticised Havant Borough Council’s handling of a disabled parking ban.

Robin Walton, chairman of heritage group Discover Hayling, is angry after he and his wife Eileen were handed a parking fine while on a shopping trip to Havant.

The retired couple have been parking in Bulbeck Road, behind West Street, for many years as Mrs Walton is a blue badge holder.

But they were shocked to return to their car and find a penalty ticket.

For years people with blue badges have been able to park on double yellow lines, but last month the council painted double yellow markers on the kerb as well.

This prohibits any blue badge holder parking there.

Mr Walton was angry, not with the idea of the scheme, but that there were no large warning signs explaining the change.

Mr Walton, of Bacon Lane, said: ‘For years disabled people have able to park along there with their blue badges.

‘My wife probably comes to Havant twice a week.

‘She did as normal, making sure she didn’t park in any designated loading areas.

‘She got a ticket. I took exception to this and phoned them up.

‘Surely you should give people a warning notice?

‘Most elderly people go in there on an occasional basis.

‘On the day it happened I noticed two other people arrive with their blue badges and fortunately I was able to tell them. Clearly there’s been quite a number of people caught.’

He added: ‘I just feel it’s so insensitive. You have parked there for years and then suddenly it changes.

‘Why is there not a big notice? People in their 70s are not going to notice little yellow squares.’

But council officers told The News that residents were informed of the changes.

A spokeswoman said: ‘A full consultation of 28 days took place prior to the restrictions being enforced. Signs were erected on lampposts notifying members of the public of the change, as well as a public notice placed in The News.’

A council report explains that people parking on double yellow lines had caused safety issues. Some HGV drivers have had to reverse into Park Road South and others have had to drive over kerbs to get through.

A designated disabled parking bay remains in Bulbeck Road.