Susan Ball makes around 70 home visits across the town each week, helping clients to wash, eat and carry out other personal care tasks.
The schedule set by her private sector employer means she is left with around five minutes travelling time between each client – pressure made worse by the high demand for parking spaces in some parts of Buxton.
On Thursday, February 17, Susan says she was left with no option but to pull up on a single yellow line along Bath Road so she could make two calls at St Anne’s House.
Susan said: “I was driving round and round looking for a space, it’s hell to park around there. It was either the yellow line or be late, and for one of them I had to meet another carer. There was nothing else I could do, and it wasn’t a dangerous place to park.
“Unless I’m there at 7am, every time I do a call around Bath Road it’s a complete nightmare. Where am I supposed to go?”
It took around an hour for Susan to complete her visits, and when she returned to her car she says there was no parking ticket to be seen – so it was a surprise when a letter arrived weeks later from the county council’s civil parking enforcement team Park Smarter.
Susan said: “They said they’d left a ticket under my wiper and that the fine was now up to £70, and I had 50 days to respond. That was the first I’d heard about it.”
Although she is attempting to appeal the fine, Susan suspects she will ultimately have to pay up, but feels that situations such as hers should prompt a rethink by the council.
Susan said: “I have a note I leave on my dashboard to explain I’m a care worker but it’s not anything official. I think all carers should have a badge they can put in their car, so long as they’re always parking somewhere safe. The job is stressful enough as it is without worrying about parking all the time.”
A Derbyshire County Council spokesperson said: “Restrictions are in place to ensure people park safely and do not put other road users at risk, and we would always urge people to follow any local restrictions in place.
“While the work of all carers and health workers is greatly appreciated there is currently no scheme across the county which permits carers, doctors or nurses to park close to their patients.”
They added: “Our enforcement policy states that doctors, nurses and midwives engaged on emergency duties, while expected to park legally in accordance with local restrictions, may have a PCN cancelled if evidence of the emergency is provided.
“There could be grounds for an appeal if this visit was an emergency, but the overall policy does not extend to carers on routine visits and they are not exempt from yellow line restrictions. There is a comprehensive appeals process in place where people can submit any mitigation for consideration by contacting the central processing unit at [email protected]”