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Dad carries disabled son to school because of row over disabled parking bay

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An Edinburgh father has to carry his disabled son 100 yards to school because a local resident keeps using the disabled parking bay close to the building.

Disabled parking  bay

Eight-year-old Keir Wallace suffers from a rare condition called familial cold auto-inflammatory syndrome type 2, which leaves his legs in agony. This means he is often unable to walk into school. Edinburgh Council have painted a disabled bay outside St John’s Primary School in Portobello, however, it is regularly used by a local able-bodied resident leaving 60-year-old John Wallace to carry his son from the nearest available parking spot.

Not enforceable

Geoff Pearson, who is secretary of the Northfield and Willowbrae Community Council and chair of homelessness charity Streetwork, has lodged an objection to the disabled bay, claiming that the parking space is “only advisory and so not enforceable”.

Making a point

“The council is using the wrong traffic regulation order to paint this bay – and I am making that point,” said Mr Pearson. “Apparently around 20 years ago there were two disabled bays there but the markings faded over time and so they were just used by anyone.

“Then without any warning one disabled bay was re-painted. I have asked the council who painted it and why and no-one seems to know. My objection to it is solely based on the fact that the council is using the wrong traffic order – it is making it a ‘residential’ bay, in the same way a disabled person can apply for one outside their own home. That is not a bay where fines can be handed out.”

Objection

Defending his position, Mr Pearson added, “Yes, I do park in it, but only for short periods of time when I can’t get closer to my house as the street is generally full of teachers’ cars. I will withdraw my objection if the council uses the correct traffic order. Anyone could get some white paint and mark a disabled space on the road.”disabled parking bay

Mr Wallace, a mature student, said, “It’s disgraceful that a space for disabled drivers is being blocked by just one person who is in a position to help the community.”

Support

The Wallace family has gained the support of the local community over the matter and, despite Mr Pearson’s role, the community council has written to the local authority asking for the bay to become enforceable. A cross party group of MSPs for children and young people has also voiced its support alongside MP Tommy Sheppard.

Respect

As Mr Pearson has lodged a formal objection to the disabled parking bay, the council’s plans to make parking there an offence have been delayed and it will now be January before the issue is even discussed. A spokesperson for the council said: “The council is currently going through the process of making the disabled parking bay enforceable. We hope that in the meantime people would respect any disabled drivers who need to use the space, especially at school drop-off and pick-up times.”

 

 

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About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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