3,000 drivers park in disabled bays illegally
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Disabled motorists have slammed “selfish and ignorant” drivers who flout the law by illegally parking in designated disabled bays.
Their comments came after figures obtained by this newspaper showed more than 3,000 people have been hit with penalties totalling almost £76,000 in the last five years.
The figures reveal most culprits took their chances in the Great Yarmouth area with some offenders in Gorleston and Caister.
In Waveney during the same period just 728 fines were handed out, against 3,077 in Yarmouth.
Disabled people at Centre 81, a skills and activities centre in Yarmouth, said there was a problem with abuse of the blue badge scheme and of disabled parking bays and that the true figures were likely to be much higher.
Blue badge holder Wendy Townley, 50, of Hopton, said those taking a disabled bay showed “a total lack of consideration”, tagging them “selfish and ignorant.” She added there was also a problem with non-badge holders borrowing other people’s permits.
Carmela Ewels, 53, who also has a blue badge, said: “I just get mad, it’s frustrating and I think it is getting worse. People don’t care about people like us.”
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Centre 81 manager Diana Staines said people thought too much about their own convenience without understanding how it might affect others.
She said: “The majority of people who have a disabled badge need a disabled badge.
“It is part of the culture. It is convenient and they do not understand the implications.”
Streets with the highest offender rates included King Street (1,004), Deneside (399) and Marine Parade (381), with one penalty handed out in Dene Avenue, Ormesby.
Meanwhile, carparks with the most prolific abuse saw Howard Street top the fines tally with 229, followed by the Market Place (170) and Fuller’s Hill (85).
Three offences were recorded at Caister Beach Road, and 17 in Gorleston High Street car park.
The penalty charge is either £50 for off-street and £70 for on-street.
If paid within 14 days the penalty charge is reduced by 50pc to either £25 or £50. If no payment is received or no representation made the penalty charge is increased by 50pc to £75 or £105.
More than half the fines were paid with discount.
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST
We asked Great Yarmouth Borough Council for the number of fines given to drivers for parking in disabled parking spaces since 2013, the value of those fines, and the location where the parking offence took place.
The figures provided show 2248 fines were issued for on-street offences and 829 were handed out in town car parks.
Topping the table are:
• King Street, Great Yarmouth, 1004
• Deneside, Great Yarmouth, 399
• Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth, 381
• Howard Street car park, Great Yarmouth, 229
• Palmer Road, Great Yarmouth, 204
• Market Place, Great Yarmouth, 170
• Fullers Hill car park, 85
• King Street car park, 83
• Brewery Plain car park, 78
• Hall Plain, Great Yarmouth, 61
Fines totalled £75,960 across the borough.
That was divided into £64,610 for on-street parking fines, and £11,350 for off-street fines.
Some 1,762 of the 3,077 fines were paid with a discount.