Parishioners leaving Sunday mass at Our Lady and St Hubert in Warley in the West Midlands were shocked to find parking tickets on the cars they had parked outside the church. Churchgoers had for years parked on the wide pavement outside the church, but during the Sunday service traffic wardens pounced and put £50 fines on around eight vehicles, many of which had blue disabled parking badges displayed in their windows.
Mary Docker, a former councillor and one of the churchgoers affected, told the Daily Mail she had earlier mentioned to traffic wardens that disabled drivers were allowed to park in front of the church. Mrs Docker said: “I told [the first wardens] the church had special dispensation for disabled parking. But when I came out there was a ticket on my car.
“It’s so unfair, and mean. I can’t walk any great distance and I worry that I might not be able to continue attending the church where I’ve been going for many years.”
The Telegraph reported that the parish priest, Father Peter Blundell, had been told by the local highways department five years ago that disabled drivers could park in front of the church if they left space for pedestrians, but the stretch of road where the church is situated may now be included in a nearby “Red Route” which means all parking is banned.
Father Blundell told the paper that the changes were made three weeks ago, but that locals had not been informed of any change to parking restrictions. “If parishioners can’t park outside it means disabled people will have to leave their cars far away. If the council refuses to budge I worry I might not see some of them again.”
Sandwell council said it was investigating the matter.