DISTRESSED pensioners were told they would lose their parking permits – because their doors faced the wrong direction.
Council staff told a number of elderly residents in Bedford Court, Stockbridge, they could not renew their annual parking permits – because it had been an error to issue them in the first place.
James White has been living in the former council flats for nearly 40 years and said he was at his wits’ end over the “parking shambles” in the area.
He, and his neighbours, were instructed to park in a private car park instead, which has space for only 22 vehicles and is a “free for all”.
But police officers have previously advised Mr White to park on the street after problems of car vandalism in the car park.
Mr White said: “When a gate was put on the car park about 25 years ago it was a secure lock and key and you had to go up and get the key yourself from the council offices.
“You had to show that you actually stayed in the street but people were going up and saying they’d lost their key before giving the ‘replacement’ to a friend. That’s when the trouble started.
“I was seeing people who didn’t live in Bedford Court and I reported it – they then started vandalising my car.
“The police advised that I park on Bedford Street, on the other side of my house, underneath my windows.
“And all of a sudden after 25 years I’m being told I am not allowed to park there and worst of all there is no explanation.”
Mr White said the reason he had been given for not being allowed a permit anymore was that his house door does not look into the street to which the permit applies.
He was incredulous: “I couldn’t understand that.
“That doesn’t make any sense to me but I couldn’t get anyone at the council to even talk to me.”
With the only solution offered by the council to leave cars in a packed car park with a broken gate, some of the elderly residents were considering selling their cars for fear they would return home one day and not be able to park.
Mr White said: “My wife has osteoporosis so if I don’t have access to a car it will make her life ten times worse.
“One of the neighbours, he’s terrified to take it out in case he can’t get back into the car park.
“Everybody is using it and double parking outside the gates. It’s a complete shambles.”
But following a call from the Evening News, the city council has U-turned on the initial decision. A council spokesperson, said: “We are working with the local community to resolve this issue and in the meantime permits will be renewed for any residents who currently have one until we find a solution for all residents going forward.”
Local Lib Dem councillor Hal Osler who has been helping the residents said: “I am really delighted a temporary permit will be issued as I know the stress this has caused him and his family.
“I will continue to work with Officials until we can find a long-term solution for all the residents in Bedford Court.”
Mr White added: “That’s very good news. That’s all they needed to do – provide us with a temporary solution until they sort out the car park for good.”