A motorist has hit out after new anti-terror legislation led to no disabled parking being provided at Hartlepool’s Waterfront Festival.
Hartlepool Borough Council has apologised to Ian Fewster following the problems he faced attending the free day of arts, music and entertainment at Jackson’s Landing on Saturday.
A council officer later told Mr Fewster, who has mobility problems following a spinal injury, that disabled parking had been removed from the event plans at the request of anti-terror police. But Cleveland Police dispute this.
Blue badge holder Mr Fewster, 59, who uses a walking stick or mobility scooter, said: “For the council to be organising such a large event for the town I find it disgusting there was no allocation whatsoever for disabled people.
“Inside the entrance there was a huge car park that could easily have taken 50 vehicles that was completely empty.
“It just beggars belief.
“It spoiled it for me and I’m sure for many other disabled people. The security people didn’t know anything. I was just told I had to park off site.”
Mr Fewster was angry a food trailer took up two disabled spaces in front of the Jacksons Wharf pub, and the nearest other official disabled parking was at the National Museum of the Royal Navy.
He parking on a grass verge close to the festival site.
A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesperson said: “First and foremost, we sincerely apologise for any parking problems blue badge holders may have encountered during their visit to the Waterfront Festival.
“New anti-terrorism restrictions in place meant that the council had to operate a strict accreditation scheme throughout the event.
“Unfortunately, this meant vehicles were only allowed onto the site if they were authorised and had previously provided their registration number.
“Measures will be put in place to ensure this issue does not arise again at future Hartlepool events.”
Cleveland Police said: “An accredited parking scheme was recommended by police in line with national guidance. This was to be implemented by the council and was to include blue badge holders.”
The council said the needs of all members of the community will be addressed during the design of a new waterfront events area.