Blue Badge Warning…

As a relatively mobile Phantom I have never known rules and regulations of the Blue Badge parking scheme. I do know that it’s supposed to allow easy access to people with disabilities, which is why I’m always scrupulous about never parking in disabled bays at Sainsbury’s even when it’s 2.00am and I’m the only one there. Likewise it bugs the hell out of me when others aren’t so thoughtful – I confess to a sneaking satisfaction when I was walking through Sainsbury’s car park recently and saw a builder’s pick up truck in a disabled space that had been clamped…

But that’s not what I’m writing about today. Today I’m letting you know (rather late, the email went astray – folks, do send stuff to me via the address on the page rather than via the Phantom Webmaster as it can slip through the net – about an experience a blue badge holder had in the car park in Greenwich High Road, next to the main post office.

It has recently been taken over by a private parking firm, apparently, VJC Parking management. Mr G has been a blue badge holder for many years and has always been allowed to park there free of charge. VJC have changed the rules and now blue badge holders have to pay, but instead of advertising the fact clearly, they are waiting for the holder to display their badge, then issue a PCN while the holder’s away.

Now, presumably, there is a notice actually on the signs, but if you’ve been parking there for years, it’s easy to miss changes in a sign. Mr G did his usual thing – parked up, nipped into the post office for a couple of minutes, and came out to see a warden in the middle of issuing a fine. The parking attendant told Mr G he had watched Mr G displaying the badge – which sort of goes to show they’re not up for just telling people they can’t park for free, they just want the cash.

I guess the issue here is not the parking charge as such, blue badges are supposed to allow access, not necessarily free access, it’s the way people are informed.

If I was a Phantom Parking Attendant I’d be rubbish at my job – I’d feel the need to tell someone if a rule had changed that they needed to know about. There’s deliberately taking the Michael, like the builder vans in disabled spaces – and there’s genuine mistakes. I like to think I’d know the difference.

So – just be careful if you have a blue badge, eh, folks. READ THE NOTICE!

5 Comments to “Blue Badge Warning…”

  1. Paul says:

    Remember they’re a private firm, and in most cases their charges are non-enforceable. I got one of these ‘tickets’ 18 months ago, and as long as you don’t mind writing one letter, explaining why you won’t pay, and then ignore fake-legal intimidating letters for the next few months, you will be ok.

    More info here:

  2. Chris says:

    There are plenty of ways you can beat these people. There are other sites, as well as MSE, but it’s a shame you have to go through the bother.
    That said, there is now a five hour waiting restriction at Sainsbury’s on the peninsular, so now you can park within 200 yards of the place again. The Kent commuters were blitzed last week!

  3. Jon says:

    Aha, I noticed wardens doing the rounds last week and wondered what all those people had done to deserve it. Poor Kent commuters, lucky locals who can now lug a bag of B&Q compost to the car without requiring a team of Sherpas.

  4. valley_girl says:

    The parking restrictions at Sainsbury’s were reintroduced last Wednesday and I saw PCNs stuck on the windscreens on several cars on Friday. It seems to have worked, as it’s now possible to park near the store. It had got to ridiculous proportions with commuters parking there all day with no spaces for shoppers. I was reduced on several occasions to using a disabled parking space when there was nothing else – not even one of the ‘family/kids’ spaces. I didn’t feel comfortable doing this and complained to Sainsbury’s. It has taken nearly 20 months to sort this out since the restrictions were removed post-2012 Olympics, so the Kent commuters have had their money’s worth out of their free parking all this time.

  5. Trevor says:

    While I agree about the Kent commuters, what the quite zealous parking attendants are also looking at is parking within the white lines. A £108 fine (£54 if paid within two weeks) for this, so don’t get giddy with all that freed up space. Be aware of how you park!