Disabled spaces ‘being abused’ in Kettering

One car that KPM snapped, which they say was not displaying a blue badge. NNL-180420-121312005
One car that KPM snapped, which they say was not displaying a blue badge. NNL-180420-121312005

A Kettering man has pleaded with drivers not to abuse disabled spaces in the town.

Mike Smith, from the Kettering Parking Matters (KPM) group, says there have been many instances where able-bodied drivers have parked in a space without a badge.

Mr Smith, 70, said: “It’s just selfishness from some people.

“I’ve approached people who have parked in a disabled space without a badge and when challenged they just say ‘I won’t be long’.

“It’s all about them.”

KPM met on April 12 at the Kettering Council offices to discuss the abuse of disabled spaces, as well as parking around schools and parking in the town centre.

He says it’s an issue that happens all too often in the town - including to his own family.

“My daughter couldn’t get her wheelchair out of the back of the car because she was blocked by a taxi.

“I have a badge because I have osteoarthritis in my hips and knees and if I walk 100 yards I am in agony.

“They [people who abuse spaces] can walk, no problem.”

Kettering is the only town in the county where illegal parking isn’t decriminalised, coming under the control of the police.

There are plans for that to change and Mr Smith says it will make enforcement easier.

He said: “We would like more enforcement but the problem is it’s dealt with by the police and they’re overworked.

“Once it goes into the control of Kettering Council they can employ wardens and any money from fines can be used to tackle it, rather than go to central government.”

Kettering councillor Anne Lee (Lab) has attended KPM meetings and is now the champion of disabled parking in the town.

She has appealed to drivers to respect the purpose of those disabled parking spaces.

She also invited anyone with a blue badge who regularly struggles to find a disabled parking space to let her know where the worst problems occur.