Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Disabled Parking abuse at Tesco in Madeley

Last weekend I popped to Tesco in Madeley and was surprised to see a car parked diagonally across a disabled parking space.  I was even more surprised to see that there was a young woman passenger in the car with a couple of kids climbing all over the back seat.  There was no blue badge in the car of course.

I must have shook my head in disbelief because the woman screeched "have you got a problem?" at me through the open window.  I'm not the type to shy away from confrontation so I asked if they were disabled.  The answer was "no, so f**king what?".  I told the woman that they shouldn't be parked there because the spaces are for disabled people and was told "so f**king what?" and "what about them lot parked there [pointing at the parent and child spaces] what aint got no f**king kiddies?", completely missing the point of parent and child spaces which are for parents to get out of their cars with their children safely.

I left her screeching abuse across the car park, setting a wonderful example to her children, got what I needed from the shop and then dragged the security guard out with me to come and see all the cars in the disabled bays with no blue badges.  The car with the abusive passenger had gone but every disabled pay in an entire row had a car in it without a blue badge except for one, which was empty.

As I'm listening in disbelief to the security guard telling me it's annoying but there's nothing they can do about it (despite having been told previously by the manager of the store that they can and will if they're made aware) two young women pulled into the empty disabled bay and got out to go to the shop.  They had no blue badge either so I pointed it out and the security guard went to challenge them.  They ignored him and he followed them into the store looking like a kicked puppy.

I am determined not to let this rest and have contacted Tesco about this persistent problem (it is the same every time I go there).  They confirmed what the manager of the store has already told me - if it is reported, they will announce the registration number of the car over the tannoy and advise the driver not to park in disabled bays again or they may be banned from the store.

The problem with this particular store is that there is no ANPR camera on the car park entrance.  At the Tesco store in Wellington they do have ANPR cameras which flag up when a banned car comes into the car park.  That's not possible at the moment at Madeley because there's no camera and it doesn't help that the security guard won't enforce company policy.

It's about time disabled parking bays in all car parks open to the public were legally enforceable by the police but changing the law is slightly outside the remit of a parish council so in the meantime I will just have to badger Tesco into doing whatever it takes to stop the widespread abuse of disabled parking bays at the store.

On the off-chance that anyone in a position to make this kind of decision reads this, here's a suggestion: when a car pulls into the parking bay, a motion sensor sets off an alarm fitted to a post with a disabled parking sign on it.  Put RFID chips in blue badges and make the alarm silence only when the motion sensor detects that the car has left the bay or when the blue badge comes within range of the alarm.  Passive RFID chips that require no battery have a range of up to 30-40ft so in most cases just pulling into the bay would be enough.