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Fury as warden tickets disabled trippers' coach
1:30pm Monday 26th August 2013 in Southend
A TRAFFIC warden ticketed a coach driver parked on Southend’s seafront as his disabled passengers were helped aboard.
Wheelchair-bound members of the New Faces Club, which organises outings for older people with physical disabilities, had enjoyed a day trip.
However, they were upset after the warden issued a £70 fine.
An organiser from New Faces, who didn’t want to be named, said the group wouldn’t be returning to Southend.
He said: “The whole thing is ludicrous. It was the warden’s attitude that upset people more than anything.
“It’s becoming more and more difficult to take club members out, and situations like this cause unnecessary hassle.
“We wouldn’t consider bringing our members back to Southend after the way we were treated.”
A group of 15 disabled people and six carers from the club, based in Golders Green, North London, had their annual visit last Sunday.
The coach pulled up in a loading bay to collect the group at 4.15pm outside the Las Vegas Grill, in Marine Parade, where they had been enjoying tea and cake.
Julia Prewer, who owns the grill with husband, Richard, saw what happened.
She said: “A bit of compassion from the warden wouldn’t have gone amiss. We lose a lot of trade because of the wardens along the seafront.
We feel like they’ve got it in for the seafront traders.
“They can be ruthless. Some have the sense and compassion of a robot.”
Jeremy Reese, owner of the Little Bus Company whose driver was fined, has written a formal complaint to Southend Council.
He said: “I think it’s disgraceful on so many levels, a complete abuse of power.
“I can’t believe the council doesn’t give wardens some degree of judgement in situations like this. We’ve taken five other groups there and have never had this problem before. The passengers were very upset.”
Peter Geraghty, the council’s head of planning and transport, said it was aware of the incident.
He added: “We have asked for a full report from our parking enforcement contractor and I am awaiting a full response.”
Jill Allen-King, a disability rights campaigner, believed the council had not made provisions for disabled people along the revamped City Beach.
She said: “That’s why disabled daytrippers don’t come down. Passengers can’t be easily offloaded, so it puts them off. People with disabilities are often limited with walking, so if they’re coming for the day they want to be dropped off and collected as close as possible.”
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