Disabled dad calls for parking leeway

Ian Crick pictured outside Eldon Grove primary school.
Ian Crick pictured outside Eldon Grove primary school.

A DISABLED dad who suffers from crippling arthritis has hit out over the introduction of a new school camera car.

Ian Crick drives his four-year-old daughter Kelsey to Eldon Grove School, in Hartlepool.

He used to drop her off at the school gates so he didn’t have to get out of his Citroen C4 car.

But he has critcised a new camera car which has been put in place by Hartlepool Borough Council to fine illegal and irresponsible drivers on the school run.

Ian is worried about how he will see Kelsey into school without having to park up, possibly hundreds of yards away, and walk her into the premises.

Ian said he parked in Elwick Road for fear of being fined on Monday’s school run and used his walking stick to get Kelsey to the gates.

But he suffered extreme pain for hours after and was unable to sleep until after 4.30am the next day.

Ian would like a number of disabled bays at the school gates for people in a similar situation to himself, or exemption from parking restrictions outside the school for the couple of minutes he drops off his daughter.

The 42-year-old, of Windsor Street, said: “This new camera car is going to have a massive effect on me and I’m really worried how I’m going to manage every day. Before the council brings in these new measures they should think about disabled people.

“It makes me annoyed to think I’m making my condition worse because of this.” Today, however, after hearing of Ian’s dilemma, Hartlepool Borough Council and Eldon Grove’s headteacher said they would help Mr Crick and find a solution.

Mike Blair, the council’s highways, traffic and transportation manager, said: “Most of our schools were designed decades ago when there were fewer cars.

“We constantly review parking and safety around schools and will be pleased to liaise with Mr Crick and the school to see whether a solution can be found.”

Headteacher Julie Deville said: “The safety of all our pupils is a top priority.

“I will be more than happy to work with Mr Crick and the council to see if we can address this issue.”

Ian, a father of four other children aged 19, 16, 14 and 10, takes 29 tablets each day to cope with the pain and effects of his illnesses which include a severe form of arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis (inflammation and fusing of the bones).

He also has an erratic heartbeat which leaves him weak and short of breath.

Ian is awaiting two hip replacements and should use a wheelchair but he is trying to get away with staying mobile with a walking stick for as long as he can.

His wife, Julie, 38, suffers from anxiety and panic attacks, and cannot get out of the car on her own to take Kelsey into school if Ian has to park away from the school gates.

On good days she can take Kelsey into the school if he can park at the main entrance and watch them walk in.

The camera car will be patrolling all the town’s schools in the clampdown on unsafe parking.