Shopkeeper gets an ice cold reception from disabled councillor over dumped fridges
A ROW broke out when shop fitters dumped two discarded fridge units on a disabled parking bay in Chatteris town centre, leaving disabled Manea councillor Ian Woodard without a disabled parking spot.
Ian’s wife Sabrina said she was “absolutely disgusted” to find that the two units taken out of the nearby Nisa store during a refit were left on a parking space. The couple alerted police and complained to the store owner.
Shop owner Ian Benney said Cllr and Mrs Woodard were unreasonable. “We offered an alternative parking space, but all he wanted to do was make a statement, and that is not what the blue badge system is for.”
Cllr and Mrs Woodard say they refused to park in an ordinary bay, because the doors of their large Mercedes vehicle needed extra space. “We parked in front of the bay with our hazard lights on instead,” said Sabrina. “There was no where else for us to park. I was disgusted to see the parking bay being taken up by the fridges, there was room on the walkway to park them.”
Cllr Woodard is a wheelchair user, he suffers health problems related to diabetes complications. He said: “We attended a Neighbourhood Forum meeting in Manea recently, and told police that disabled bays in Chatteris are often used by motorists without blue badges.”
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The shop re-fit was carried out by Norfolk shop fitters GDP . One of the men working on site said: “I parked the fridges there, because I had no where else to put them, and I did not want to block the pathways. We offered an alternative parking space, but it was refused.”
Shop owner Mr Benney added: “To improve our range of goods and services means there needs to be some disruption. We did not have the lifting equipment available to move the fridges immediately, because the lifting equipment was still being used inside the shop.
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“I think these people were being very unreasonable. We are not anti disabled people in any way, we offer a personal shopper service for disabled people, and when we planned the store we ensured there was plenty of space for wheelchair use.”