Disabled woman fined £1,000 for parking in disabled spot outside home

A disabled woman has been hit with a string of £1,000 fines for using a disabled parking space at her flat – as it’s only for visitors.

Cerys Gemma, 34, is unable to park in her allocated space because a pillar blocks space for her wheelchair.

This has forced Cerys to park in a disabled bay outside her waterside flat – so that she can get in and out of her car.

But she has been hit with a string of parking tickets despite telling the authorities about her plight.

Cerys has been told by property management that the space is strictly for visitors only at the Prospect Place flats in Cardiff Bay.

Cerys, who has been using a wheelchair since suffering serious spinal injuries in a car accident when she was just 17, said: “This has plagued me for two years and I just can’t go on like this.

“I’m at breaking point and I’ve had conversations with people, and I’ve said this is the end, because I can’t do this anymore – something has to change.

“I’m not willing to be pushed out of my home because I’m in a wheelchair.”

She said she is unable to get into her space because there is a pillar on one side and another car parking space close on the other side.

Cerys has now been ordered to pay the fines by the County Court – despite trying to explain the issue to property managers.

She said: “It’s hard enough anyway, and I try and be as graceful and patient with people who don’t have accessible buildings.

“I understand that it’s hard, but I’m not being pushed out of my home because of a parking space when they’ve got eight accessible bays.

“Literally every day when I come down to me car I think ‘here we go, is there going to be another ticket?’, and it’s awful”.

Disability rights lawyer Chris Fry, from legal firm Scott Montcrieff & Associates, said under the Equalities Act there is an obligation to make reasonable adjustments.

He said: “The reality is that if the space allocated to her is inaccessible to her because of her disability, then they’re under obligation to make a reasonable adjustment, to maybe move that space or change it to a closer spot to the front door.

“If they don’t, they’re in breach of the Equality Act.”

He added: “There is no disadvantage to them changing their policy, and prioritising, in fact legally, prioritising disabled people above other people is legal.

“It is within their gift to cancel those fines, that should be the first step they should take in terms of trying to rebuild the relationship.”

New Generation Parking Management, which manages the bays on behalf of Prospect Place, said the rules were agreed when they were asked to manage the site.

It said: “We want to make clear, if we allow one resident to utilise a disabled visitor space as their own, we would need to allow all requests from residents, which we have received over the years.

“This would no doubt reduce the availability of disabled spaces for disabled visitors.

“We cannot make changes to these rules unless agreed by the board of directors, therefore in light of the continued distress that this is causing Ms Gemma we will take steps to ensure this is discussed at the next board meeting”.

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