Concerns over disabled bay refusal

Barry And District News: CONCERNS: Alun Cairns with Sophie Woodham CONCERNS: Alun Cairns with Sophie Woodham

A DISABLED woman has expressed concerns about being rejected for a parking bay outside her home.

Sophie Woodham, 20, of Heol sir Hwi, Barry is a wheelchair user who accesses her car through the boot.

The drive at her home is at a height that makes entering her car impossible and so she regularly parks on the street to make getting in and out of her vehicle manageable.

Miss Woodham, who works as a volunteer at a charity shop, went to the Vale council civic offices to discuss making an application for a parking bay.

Leaving with the relevant contact details, she was shocked to find that she received a rejection letter before she had the chance to make a proposal.

MP Alun Cairns visited her home and agreed that her situation was a difficult one that required further investigation.

“Sophie received a refusal letter without having applied for the bay," he said. "It clearly doesn’t understand the position.

Until you see the property and the different heights, it is impossible to for a fair judgement.

"Only when you visit the property can you see the difficulty that Sophie faces.

“The gradient from the road to the driveway is such that Sophie has difficulty placing her wheel chair in a safe position for her to get in and out of her car.

“I have written to the Authority to highlight my concerns and express my surprise that a refusal was given without a site visit or even consideration of the case in more detail.”

The Vale council refuted these claims and explained that there had in fact been a site visit and the application had been refused according to the findings.

Michael Clogg, Operational Manager Highways and Engineering said: “A site investigation was undertaken on the same day. Following this the application was declined and a letter sent to inform the applicant."

He explained that council policy dictates that disabled parking is provided only where the applicant has no access to off street parking.

He added that if Sophie's driveway in not suitable then private works must be undertaken to improve it.

"The property is also located at the end of a cul-de-sac and so even if off-street parking was not available, it is very unlikely that a safe and convenient a disabled parking bay could be installed on the highway without obstructing other driveways or vehicles using the area to turn," he said.

"For these reasons the application was refused and cannot be reconsidered.”

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