A Barnoldswick woman who suffers with partial paralysis in one side of her body has had her plea for a disabled car parking bay outside her home rejected by Lancashire County Council.
Margaret Lambert (69), who lives with husband Keith (68) in Chapel Street, suffered a stroke at birth and has had restricted movement in the right hand side of her body all her life.
But, despite this and Mrs Lambert needing a walking stick, having a blue badge and the couple owning a mobility car, the Lamberts have failed in a bid to convince Lancashire County Council of their need for a disabled bay as County Hall say she is not the driver of the car.
Mrs Lambert says even if she had a licence, she would not physically be able to drive anyway, and Mr Lambert feels this stance is unjust and unfair on him.
In correspondence with Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson, the county council said they can make exceptions when the disabled partner is not the driver, but only if a person cannot be left alone even for a short period of time or can only walk short distances and it is not considered safe to double park outside the home.
Mrs Lambert, who has also survived breast cancer, says she can’t walk long distances and although they live in a residential area, Mr Lambert says parking is a problem and there was a head-on collision between two cars in Chapel Street recently.
To compound matters, Mrs Lambert is having her left hip replaced in March.
Mrs Lambert said: “When you can’t park here and you’re parking somewhere else and the kerb is too high, I can’t get out.
“It must affect other people. I’m wondering now whether I should have lied and said I was the driver. It’s very distressing.
“If I get any worse, I might not be able to walk at all. Your heart sinks when you come around the corner and see that you can’t park again.”
Mrs Lambert says she managed with the issue when she was younger but was hoping for a bay to make going out easier in later life.
She added: “All I want is parking bay so that I’m not struggling.”
But Alan Capstick, Lancashire County Council’s highways manager, said: “We have looked very carefully at Mrs Lambert’s request for a residential disabled parking bay, taking all of her circumstances into account.
“In doing so, we have to be fair not only to Mrs Lambert but also to other residents and road users.
“One of the main conditions for a residential disabled parking bay is that the applicant must be the driver of the vehicle, and as Mrs Lambert doesn’t drive, this condition isn’t met.
“On many residential streets, we feel it’s reasonable for an able-bodied driver to double park briefly when needed, help a disabled passenger into the car or to a safe area, and then park elsewhere.
“When compared to many other residential streets across the county, the level of traffic on Chapel Street is quite low.
“In our view would allow for double parking while Mrs Lambert gets into or out of the car.”