Tom Gascoigne, who has Multiple Sclerosis (MS) parked in Hexham, Northumberland, to visit his optician but was stunned after returning to his Ford
Tom Gascoigne, 63, uses a hoist to get his electric wheelchair from the back of his Ford to get out and about.
But the two designated parking spaces at the council-owned car park in Hexham, Northumberland, were in use on Wednesday when Tom needed to collect his prescription glasses from his optician.
Tom says the only option left for him to leave his car was to park on a raised kerb and display his blue disabled badge.
But Chronicle Live reports the former teacher returned to his car to discover he’d be given a £50 parking fine.
“Have they got nothing better to do? They must have been a total jobsworth,” the furious father-of-two said.
“They could see it was a car that houses a wheelchair, I had my blue disabled badge on display and I thought I was ok to park there.
“I have seen lots of other cars parked there in the past and thought mine would be fine.
“There are no double yellow lines and no signs that say ‘no parking’ that I could see. I really couldn’t believe what they had done.”
Northumberland County Council, which has no overall political control, says “enforcement is carried out to manage parking effectively” across the borough.
Tom, from Thorngrafton, near Hexham, says his blue badge allows a disabled person to park on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours if it is safe to do so.
But he decided against it and thought a place with no yellow lines would be a better choice.
The ticket says he was “not parked correctly within the markings or space of a bay”.
The penalty notice was put on Tom’s Ford C-Max motability vehicle and says if he pays it with in 14 days the cost will be reduced by 50% to £25. After that the charge will be £50.
What is multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a lifelong autoimmune condition which can affect the brain and/or spinal cord.
It can cause a wide range of symptoms, including problems with vision, arm or leg movement, sensation or balance, the NHS says.
MS can sometimes cause serious disability, although it can be occasionally mild.
Symptoms can be treated in many cases, although average life expectancy is slightly reduced for those with MS.
In the UK, there are about 127,000 people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which generally is diagnosed in people in their 20s and 30s.
It is two times more common in women than men.
MS causes the immune system to mistakenly attack the myelin sheath, the layer that surrounds and protects the nerves.
The NHS says: “Exactly what causes the immune system to act in this way is unclear, but most experts think a combination of genetic and environmental factors is involved.”
Tom added: “I suffer MS and I’m unable to walk.
“Because of my MS I have to get my prescription glasses changed quite regularly so all I was doing was going to the optician and then I was leaving.
“The two disabled spaces were taken with other cars and there were no other designated lined spaces left.
“There is a space near the exit of the Market Place and so I parked there. I really thought I would be fine, considering I had my blue badge on display.
“What this really highlights is that there are not enough disabled parking spaces in the Market Square area. I go to Hexham about twice a week to do my shopping but they are always full.
“I can usually find another normal lined parking space and just park in one of those and show my blue badge. But on this occasion there was no designated parking spaces available.
“I wasn’t obstructing anyone, there were no yellow lines and there were no signs saying I couldn’t park. There is clearly a lack of disabled parking bays in that area.”
A spokesman for the council said: “We have an appeals procedure in place and all mitigating circumstances presented in writing are considered.
“We therefore advise that the complainant should follow the instructions on the reverse of the PCN issued to him and appeal the PCN if he feels it was issued incorrectly.
“If a decision is made not to cancel the Penalty Charge Notice then further options will be explained to him should he wish to continue to challenge the council’s decision.
“It should be emphasised that parking enforcement is carried out in order to manage parking effectively.”