A COUNCILLOR has been caught parking in a disabled space.

Cllr Susan Phillips’s Volkswagen Beetle was spotted in one of the designated spaces outside Sainsbury’s at Castlepoint shopping centre in Bournemouth.

When paying her £60 fine she told Devere Parking Services she believes the number of disabled spaces should be reviewed as “people who are disabled basically are not going to walk around Castlepoint and I think they have got far too many disabled parking bays”.

She added that she was “going to try and do something about that”.

The Wallisdown and Winton West councillor also challenged the company when she was asked to pay an extra 50 pence for the debit card transaction.

She said when she has had a parking ticket “in London or wherever and paid £60 or whatever I’ve never been charged for any processing.”

A worker for Devere parking services, who asked not to be named, said he felt the councillor’s comments were “unbelievable”.

There are 3,000 parking spaces at the shopping centre with 144 designated for disabled.

And Peter Matthews, manager at Castlepoint, said the centre complies with the number of disabled spaces required and said there would have been spaces downstairs when she was caught at 3pm on Saturday, November 2.

The audio was provided by a worker at Devere Parking Services

“She should’ve known better,” he said.

Cllr Phillips told the Echo she was looking for a space for 45 minutes and needed to get her shopping done for her evening meal, but did not check downstairs for a space.

“There were 10 or 12 disabled spaces free and I was driving around and around but I know that doesn’t make it ok,” she said.

“I was against the clock that day.

“You do the crime and you pay the bill and I should not have parked there.

“I was very upset about what I’d done. I’ve never parked in a disabled space before.”

She said her statements about the number of disabled spaces were her opinion and said she has only ever had “two or three” tickets.

She added: “I would say disabled people who drive perhaps don’t frequent the likes of Castlepoint because it’s so far to walk everywhere.”

  • HELEN Dolphin, spokesman for Disabled Motoring UK, said Cllr Phillips’ comments “show how little she knows about the needs of disabled people in her area.”

She said: “The fact that they won’t be walking around is probably correct as they will probably be in wheelchairs or mobility scooters but that’s not to say there won’t also be disabled people walking around.

“It might be that at other times those disabled parking spaces are packed,” she added.

Disabled Motoring UK is a campaigning charity for disabled drivers, passengers and Blue Badge holders.

Mrs Dolphin said Cllr Phillips “may have a point” about the number of spaces but “spouting off when she gets a ticket” was not the best way to make it.

Department for Transport guidance recommends shopping centres reserve six per cent of spaces for blue badge holders, which would be 180 for Castlepoint.

Castlepoint has 144 disabled spaces.

Mrs Dolphin said the number of spaces chosen is affected by the figures believed to be required.

“Having too many spaces can lead to abuse so it’s necessary to have the right numbers,” she added.