Monday, 6 October 2008
You may remember that LM and I visited the theatre in London a while ago and that I had a pretty miserable time what with the stairs and my injury (see here if you didn’t read the original post) and that the evening was topped off with a parking fine. Apparently, you’re not allowed to park anywhere other than in designated disabled parking spaces with a blue badge in Westminster, or for 2 hours maximum in other parking spaces (not long enough for a theatre visit). The result was a £120 fine although that would have been reduced to £60 if I’d paid it within 14 days.
I didn’t pay it. Instead I wrote to Westminster City Council (although their collection offices are based in Warrington, Cheshire!) politely explaining that I didn’t know their rules differed from those elsewhere in the country and that as the three disabled bays that we’d been able to find close enough to The Lyceum had all been occupied, by not parking elsewhere I wouldn’t have the same freedom to visit the theatre as able bodied people and hinted that surely that was discrimination?
A letter has arrived back. They’ve waived the fine but have made it clear that now that I know the rules any further fines will be enforced.
The fact that I don’t have to pay is good news but I’m still concerned that disabled people are being discriminated against. We’re not all lucky enough to be able to use public transports comfortably (ok, so there’s not really such a thing as using public transport comfortably in London but you know what I mean) and as blue badges are only given to those who can’t walk more than 100 yards comfortably, it stands to reason that we can’t park too far from our intended destination. Why then not more disabled bays at least? I can't say I feel particularly welcome in Westminster.