‘All it needs is someone with a bucket of paint’ - pensioner’s anger over delays to repainting disabled bays in Northamptonshire town

This picture, courtesy of Google Maps from 2011, shows the bays already beginning to fade.
This picture, courtesy of Google Maps from 2011, shows the bays already beginning to fade.

An elderly man’s six-week campaign to have faded Blue Badge parking bays in a Northamptonshire town repainted has finally drawn a pledge from the Highways Agency to ‘investigate’ getting the job done.

The parking area by Towcester Town Hall on Watling Street was meant to be redesigned last year to incorporate a kerbed island, separating the market square from the main road.

the work has not yet been done and the three disabled parking bays, used by Blue Badge holders to access the town centre via a short walk, have faded so much they are now barely distinguishable from the regular bays.

Towcester man and former policeman Robert Allen, 80, has been writing to a number of agencies to get the bays repainted as he and his wife, who has Parkinson’s, have been forced to park in the disabled bays at Waitrose car park and make a half-a-mile walk into town.

He said: “You cannot tell which bays are normal and which are disabled.

“The consequence of is that all and sundry are parking in these spaces.

“When people like my wife and I go to park there we can’t get anywhere near the place.

“I then have to park in a supermarket car park a third of a mile away and I have to push her there in the wheelchair.”

Mr Allen has been pursuing the authorities to get the bays repainted for nearly six weeks now, having first raised the matter on March 13.

He and Ann say disabled people are being put off going into the town centre as they know they will likely face a long walk from Waitrose.

Since then he has written letters to the highways department of Northamptonshire County Council, South Northamptonshire Council, the police and even Towcester Town Council itself.

But all of them told him the bays were not their responsibility.

After some investigation he discovered the car park is administered by the Highways Agency.

Watling Street is an extension of the A5, which is a major trunk road and therefore the responsibility of the national body.

Until now though his efforts had drawn a blank.

This week The Highways Agency, after they were contacted by the Chronicle & Echo, says it will look into the job.

A spokesperson said: “Highways England have recently been informed of the poor visibility of the car park’s disabled spaces, and are currently investigating options to refresh these lines ahead of the wider Towcester Car Park scheme.”

But Mr Allen, who has been married to Ann since 1958, cannot believe the red tape barring such a simple job.

“All it needed was someone to come out with a bucket of paint,” he said.