Mum slapped with £100 parking fine after taking disabled son to respite care
A mum was slapped with a £100 parking fine for overstaying a waiting bay for nine minutes as she handed over her severely disabled son for respite care for a few hours. The Mirror reported widowed mum Charlotte Cheshire, 44, took son Adam to meet his carer for an afternoon of fun, and parked up in Telford town centre.
Adam, 11, needs 24-hour care, so respite was much needed and meant his mum could have a break from the mental and physical effort of caring for a disabled child alone, following the death of her husband in 2020. His carer was stuck in stationary traffic, however, and arrived late, meaning Charlotte overstayed in the parking area for nine minutes longer than the allowed 10-minute waiting time.
She opted to wait it out, rather than loading Adam back into the car and him thinking the planned afternoon's activity at the nearby Inflata Nation, an inflatable theme park, had been cancelled. She said: "Adam is my baby, I adore him, but he's a big child.
"When he gets upset I'm not going to walk away without bruises so I'm trying to control what I can. I'm constantly on alert.
"I had parked up thinking we'd be gone within the 10 minutes. I had prepared Adam for 'now blue car, next carer, then play'.
"If I had tried to put him back into the car as the timed waiting period ended, for a loop round the centre to another space, a violent meltdown would have ensued with certain injuries to me."
The respite care means a lot to both mum and son. Charlotte is currently paying for the care privately as the family awaits an assessment in their new area after moving house.
Adam was left profoundly disabled after his care at birth at the scandal-hit Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust fell woefully short. Charlotte, from Newport, Shropshire, said: "Respite gives me time to breathe, time to do the grocery shopping, just do day to day things I can't do with him."
Charlotte received a £100 fine from Smart Parking after her car was clocked on their ANPR cameras. Asked about the parking fine, Charlotte said all she was asking for was a bit of understanding for disabled people and their families.
She added: "I stayed in the waiting area longer than I should have done but I'm looking for a bit of compassion. Unless you've lived with a disabled person, you just don't get it."
Smart Parking has agreed to cancel the charge. A spokesman said: "In the case of Ms Cheshire she parked in a clearly marked pick up/drop off point for nearly 20 minutes, which is unfair to other motorists. However, as an act of compassion in this particular case we have decided to cancel her charge."
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