Able bodied drivers who park in four disabled parking bays could be fined in future if a parish council gets its way.
Mildenhall Parish Council was last night to discuss the abuse of newly marked disabled bays in the town’s Market Place and may pay to get them made legally enforceable even though it is not strictly the parish council’s responsibility.
Parish chairman Richard Greenfield said when the council heard Suffolk County Council’s Highways Department was to repaint the bay markings it arranged a meeting there with representatives from Highways and the town’s disabled forum.
It was found that two of the four spaces in the square, which has two GP surgeries, were correct while the others where not wide enough and did not have drop kerbs for wheelchair access, so it was decided to replace those with two new spaces in what had been three ordinary spaces.
Cllr Greenfield said: “The overall effect was to reduce parking for other users by one space.”
But he says the new markings were white instead of the previous yellow, had no hatchings around the parking place and no disabled parking signs other than the symbol on the road.
The result is disabled drivers are finding the two bays blocked by three cars parked in them.
Cllr Greenfield said: “The police tell me theses spaces where never legally enforceable, so even if they came along and found people in them, they couldn’t issue tickets.
“We’ve asked Highways what steps had been taken to get enforcement orders for them and said the parish council is prepared to pay for it, but we’ve had no response.
“The parish council is taking this on because we’re concerned about the welfare of people in the town.”
A Suffolk County Council spokesman said: “The parking bays are wider than standard parking bays to accommodate the needs of wheelchair users and are marked appropriately.
“Many private car parks and supermarkets mark disabled bays using differing colours, but on-street disabled parking, whether mandatory or advisory, is marked in white.
“Suffolk Highways will liaise with the relevant parties to look at ways to reduce the abuse, but ultimately the choice to park considerately lies with drivers.
“Those who are clearly not respecting the markings in the bays are denying access to those who need to use those parking spaces most.”