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Gants Hill wheelchair user pleads with drivers to rethink ‘dangerous’ parking

PUBLISHED: 11:40 03 August 2017 | UPDATED: 12:00 03 August 2017

Ellie Mason, who has lived in Gants Hill for 23 years, says anti-social parking that blocks pavements is becoming a bigger problem in the area. Photo: Ellie Mason

Ellie Mason, who has lived in Gants Hill for 23 years, says anti-social parking that blocks pavements is becoming a bigger problem in the area. Photo: Ellie Mason

Archant

A wheelchair user has shared her difficult experiences of trying to travel around Gants Hill while attempting to dodge cars that are causing obstructions on the pavement.

Ellie Mason, of Headley Drive, has cerebral palsy and relies on a wheelchair for mobility, something that she says has become much more difficult in her neighbourhood recently thanks to anti-social parkers.

Last week, the Recorder broke the story of how an overzealous Redbridge Enforcement Officer had repeatedly ticketed cars in Roll Gardens for parking with their boots inches over the pavement.

The story received national attention and divided readers, many claimed the council was being miserly, while others said residents should have purchased smaller cars as they were clearly in breach of the law.

Ellie, who has lived in Gants Hill for the last 23 years, told the Recorder: “I’m a wheelchair user and it is very difficult for me if people aren’t parking properly on their drives.”

“Whenever I go out in the evenings it gets really difficult trying to steer around these cars.

“This has always been a problem and it’s just getting worse, and when I read the reports in the newspapers last week I thought it was about time something was being done.”

The vast majority of Gants Hill’s residential properties were built in the 1940s, and since then many front gardens have been paved over to create short drives that struggle to accommodate most modern cars.

And although some residents claim pavements are wide enough for a slight overhang to not be a problem, Ellie believes many are not taking into account the needs of disabled people.

“It’s not enough for people to park and think, ‘I’ve left enough room for someone to get past’, because my chair can tip on the pavement as I try and get past and it’s very dangerous,” said Ellie.

“They should make sure they actually park on their drive and leave enough pavement for people in wheelchairs.”

Council leader Cllr Jas Athwal insisted last week that as long as there is no obstruction to the pavement then tickets will not be given, and also said that overeager traffic wardens would be retrained by the council.

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