AN ELDERLY couple have hit out at a decision which will stop them from using a permit to park in a car park near their Weymouth home.

Margaret Jones, who is in her 70s, and disabled husband Peter, in his late 80s, rely on a car parking space close to their Park Street home. They use their car for many things including attending hospital appointments in Dorchester.

Under a long-standing arrangement with the former Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, drivers in the town centre area could leave their vehicles in some council car parks if they had a resident parking permit.

With Dorset Council now responsible, this arrangement has ended as the authority says the car park spaces are in much demand.

The council gave residents such as the Joneses' a year's notice - so after March 31 they will have to find a space to park on the street with their permit.

The Joneses' have lived in the town for 30 years and have been using the Park Street car park, despite owning a disabled blue badge as they do not want to 'abuse the system'.

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Having to find a space on the crowded streets is considered to be ‘absolutely out of question’ by Mrs Jones who says there is never a space available when they need it.

She said: How dare they say 'we will grant you a permit on the main street', there is no sufficient space, the bed and breakfasts have taken over and there are too many residents.

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“They were able to do it last year, so why can’t they carry on doing it? We’ve only got weeks now and we have to get away from (parking in Park Street car park).

“We have one (disabled blue badge) and we don’t want to abuse the system, so we pay £307 (for a residential parking permit."

Dorset Echo: A notice at Park Street car park for reserved parking bay's for permit holdersA notice at Park Street car park for reserved parking bay's for permit holders (Image: Andy Jones)

Dorset Council said it had issued a year’s notice to residents with permits as it was an outdated scheme run by the former borough council.

A council spokesperson said: “The reserved Park Street bays were part of the Weymouth and Portland Borough Council scheme that was withdrawn some years ago.

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“Mrs Jones and other bay holders were able to continue using the scheme and we gave them a year’s notice in 2023 that they would need to make alternative arrangements.

“As with all our other public car parks, there is high demand for spaces so resident permits do not guarantee the permit holder use of a specific space. If specific spaces were allocated, there would be insufficient spaces for shoppers, workers and visitors to park.”

Mrs Jones has been left feeling ‘frustrated' by the council’s response and has no idea where she is supposed to park when the permit expires.

She added: “It is diabolical, what do we get in return, where is the empathy?

“Where are we supposed to go?

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“At one point we were thinking we would have to sell the car, but it's not possible, it's not viable to be without a car at our age.”

The council spokesperson added: “We appreciate it can be a struggle to park in some areas of Weymouth and a review is planned to look at alternative solutions, but we do not have a date for the review at present.”