Drivers slammed for parking outside centre for people with disabilities

Harry Clarke, town and district councillor, with Shonette Mooney, manager of Dereham Meeting Point

Harry Clarke, town and district councillor, with Shonette Mooney, manager of Dereham Meeting Point - Credit: Archant

The manager of a specialist centre for the disabled has hit out at inconsiderate parking which is preventing regulars from gaining access. 

Shonette Mooney said there were problems "every single day" at Dereham Meeting Point, a service for those with disabilities and over-55s.

The Meeting Point centre in Dereham

The Meeting Point centre in Dereham - Credit: Archant

Meeting Point is located off Saint Withburga Lane at the front of the Breckland Business Centre car park, where drivers have access to dozens of spaces with a two-hour time limit. 

But Miss Mooney said drivers were constantly using the three spaces which Meeting Point leases from Breckland Council for service-users, many of whom have poor mobility. 

'No parking' signs on the building have repeatedly been ignored. 

A 'no parking' sign at Dereham Meeting Point

A 'no parking' sign at Dereham Meeting Point - Credit: Archant

"One gentleman on his mobility scooter just couldn't get in without going on the grass, which was really quite unsafe - so it's a danger issue as well," added Miss Mooney. 

"People see the spaces are empty and make assumptions we're closed, but we could have hirers coming in soon after.

"You stop people and they say 'where else can I park?'. People do get abusive when it comes to parking."

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She added that the charity was in need of support to remedy the issue - despite the fact it has the power to put up its own signage. 

Harry Clarke, town and district councillor, with Shonette Mooney, manager of Dereham Meeting Point

Harry Clarke, town and district councillor, with Shonette Mooney, manager of Dereham Meeting Point - Credit: Archant

"We haven't really got a leg to stand on," said Miss Mooney. "What can we actually do about parking?

"We put 'no parking' boards but they all got vandalised. We could purchase some 'disabled access only' signs, but we haven't got anyone to install them." 

Harry Clarke, town councillor and a district councillor for Dereham Withburga ward, said it was time for the local authority to step in.

"What's needed is some bigger signs and some markings on the road itself," he added. "At least then it would be clear and there would be no excuse.

The Meeting Point centre in Dereham

The Meeting Point centre in Dereham - Credit: Archant

"To me, this is an external issue and not within the capacity of Meeting Point to sort. 

"I'm confident the right thing will be done and this will be supported."

Paul Hewett, Breckland's cabinet member for property and projects, said Meeting Point was free to "take appropriate measures" to secure its parking allocation.

He added: "We are always very happy to offer advice to our tenants, so council officers will be in touch with the Meeting Point owners to discuss this.”