Parking ticket nightmare for Ilfracombe pensioner
- Credit: Archant
Blue badge holder gets 26 tickets in two years.
A disabled Ilfracombe grandmother is pleading for a little compassion from the authorities after being hit with 26 parking tickets in two years.
Christine Lee, 67, suffers from severe breathing difficulties and can’t walk very far, but has to go out three times a day to move her car from its usual parking spot in Horne Road.
But sometimes she is too ill to leave the house and in the past two years this has cost her almost £1,000 in parking fines from tickets handed out by North Devon Council officers, contracted by Devon County Council to enforce on street parking restrictions.
She is at her wits end, badly depressed and seriously considering selling the home she loves just to put an end to her parking nightmare.
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Although a blue badge holder, Christine can only park on single yellow lines for three hours while restrictions apply from May to September, with no return within an hour.
So three times a day the pensioner, who also has diabetes, rheumatism and arthritis, has to drive somewhere else in the town and sit in her car for an hour, while her dog has a run and until the limit has passed so she can go back.
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After coming home from hospital earlier this year the car was ticketed twice in one day while she was unable to leave the house – and on Friday she received a ticket at 10.11am, which said her car had been ‘observed’ from 10.04am, mere minutes after the restrictions became active. She has paid all the tickets.
“I had about 11 tickets last year and I am up to 16 or 17 this year. I can walk from the house to the car with a stick, but even then I have to stop because I get out of breath,” said Christine, who used to own Lee’s Restaurant and Take Away in the High Street.
“I don’t even mind paying for a permit that would last me from May to September, just to take all the worry away and give me peace of mind again, as I am clock watching all the time.”
“I feel victimised and I do think they are making my car an easy target. A warden told me I could only have so many parking tickets at a time, otherwise I might lose my disability card and that frightened me too. They had no compassion for whatever I said.”
Christine and her friend Judith McGuigan have been to see the highways department about the possibility of getting a disabled parking space, but were told that wasn’t possible because ‘then everyone would park there’.
“With her health it is not going to get any better, it gets worse,” added Judith.
“She is only a pensioner, what do they think she is living on? It’s totally out of order, they have no compassion and they just don’t care.”
The Gazette put Christine’s case to North Devon Council. Martin Williams, procurement and service delivery manager, said the council carried out on street parking enforcement on behalf of Devon County Council.
“If someone is seen to be contravening regulations a penalty charge notice will be issued,” he added.
“Any queries regarding the management of the highways or a change in concessions should be directed to Devon County Council.”
A Devon County Council spokesman said the council sympathised with the parking issues faced by Mrs Lee, and options were explored some years ago to look at the possibility of a disabled parking bay.
“Unfortunately, we have been unable to identify a location on St Brannocks Road or Horne Road that is close enough to Mrs Lee’s property for it to be of use,” he said.
“This is due to existing parking restrictions in the area that are in place in order to keep the road from being unduly congested, but we would be happy to revisit this issue with Mrs Lee in order to find an alternative solution.”