Family’s anger at council after Norwich City fan with Down’s syndrome in blue badge row
PUBLISHED: 15:53 23 October 2019 | UPDATED: 09:38 24 October 2019
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
The parents of a 30-year-old who has Down’s syndrome and severe mobility issues have criticised a council for making them “fight” to get their son’s blue badge renewed.
Norwich City-mad Nigel Styles from Martham was granted the parking permit at the age of five and has been successful in renewing it every three years for the last 24 years.
Last week, Nigel's dad, Keith, was left shocked when he received an email from Norfolk County Council to say their latest application had been rejected.
Because of the decision, Mr Styles was faced with the devastating possibility of not being able to take his son to Carrow Road for the rest of the season.
The blue badge allowed Mr Styles to park his car on a residential street close to the ground so he and Nigel could walk to the stadium.
As well as having Down's syndrome, Nigel suffers from gout, asthma, and has limited awareness of danger which means he struggles to walk more than 100 yards.
"I couldn't believe the application was rejected," Mr Styles said.
"We've never had a problem before so I was in shock.
"It's clear the council doesn't understand how big of an impact Nigel not being granted a blue badge could have."
Mr Styles believes his son's application was rejected because he scored 12 points in an assessment of his mobility capabilities for his Personal Independence Payment (PIP) when he was first screened more than 20 years ago.
Eight points would normally automatically entitle a person to a blue badge.
A spokesman for Norfolk County Council, said: "Mr Styles was not automatically found eligible for a blue badge, however, following a review the application was granted."
Mr Styles had been sent a letter last week to tell him Nigel's case would be reviewed on November 24.
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However, the county council spokesman said the date was a typing error and the case was heard this week.
Mr Styles, 64, who works part time as a financial director, said he was delighted the council has overturned its decision but the initial refusal had caused him and his family unnecessary stress.
He said: "When it comes to Nigel we've had to fight for everything we've got and this is yet another example of the trouble we have.
"Sadly large organisations rarely understand how their decisions affect people in their everyday life."
A passion for Norwich City;
Although Nigel's blue badge is unlikely to arrive in time for Norwich City's match against Manchester United this Sunday, the 64-year-old said he will do everything he can to make sure the pair get to the game.
He said: "It would break Nigel's heart not to go to the match so we will find a way.
"I'm just glad this is now only going to be a one off."
The 30-year-old's bedroom is covered in Norwich City memorabilia and for his birthday his parents bought him a 'fan of the match' package for City's clash with Aston Villa earlier this month.
Although the Canaries lost, Nigel fulfilled a life-long dream of meeting some of his favourite players and having a tour around Carrow Road.
Nigel is a well-known figure with fans and stewards at the stadium and Mr Styles said he was overwhelmed by the support he received from supporters once they heard about the difficulties the family was having in renewing his blue badge.
Mr Styles said: "I can't thank everybody enough for all their messages of support.
"I just hope other families don't have to go through this."