A terminally ill woman has been left distraught after a wrangle over town centre car parking.
Liz Currier, 68, who suffers from motor neurone disease and is unable to walk, was told last week that she had to pay to park in Swan Walk car park, Horsham, despite previously being able to park there for free as a ‘Blue Badge’ holder.
She was left close to tears when visiting Horsham from her home in Billingshurst with her husband Ken. While trying to park, she was told by officials in Swan Walk that she was not eligible for a free space.
“It just upset me so much,” she said. “Normally, I am quite a positive person and try and keep myself cheerful, but this seemed to bring everything home to me.”
Liz was shocked when she was first diagnosed with motor neurone disease three years ago, having previously led an active life. “It’s terminal,” she said. “Fifty per cent of people with motor neurone disease die within three to five years.”
She says she has been getting progressively worse over the past year. “There is enough going on in my life without all these parking problems. My husband had to walk away because otherwise he would have got too cross.”
Liz moved to Horsham from Cheshire with husband Ken in 2015 to be nearer their son and daughter and took advantage of the free parking scheme operating in Swan Walk.
But difficulties arose last week, after trying to park there for the first time since renewal of her Blue Badge.
A parking official told Liz that she needed to show that she was in receipt of a ‘Personal Independence Payment’ benefit, as well as holding a Blue Badge. “I don’t get PIP,” said Liz. “As I’m over 65, I receive a higher rate attendance allowance.”
A spokeswoman for Horsham District Council said: “We are extremely sorry that Mrs Currier was left feeling upset following a visit to Swan Walk car park.
“We are looking into the circumstances of the complaint as a matter of urgency and will be in touch with Mrs Currier direct to resolve the situation.
“We pride ourselves in offering a high level of service to all visitors, and we are sorry that on this occasion we may have failed.”