Residents blast 'lazy' school run parents who park in disabled bays and sit on their phones for up to 40 minutes

RESIDENTS have blasted "lazy parents" for parking in disabled bays while on the school run – with some said to sit on their phones for up to 40 minutes.

A "large number" of mums and dads have allegedly been stopping without Blue Badges at Ponteland Leisure Centre in Ponteland, Northum, during school pick-up and drop-off times.

The Leisure Centre is less than one mile from Ponteland Primary School and Ponteland High School, and on the same council owned site on Callerton Lane, Chronicle Live reports.

And according to one mum, the close distance between the sites has turned the leisure centre into a "make shift school car park".

Kate Fletcher Günüşen, from Ponteland, said her mum Pamela Fletcher, has been unable to park in the disabled bays on "several occasions" due to "inconsiderate" parents.

She said her mum has scoliosis of the spine and issues with her legs, making it extremely difficult for her to walk.

But her weekly playdate with Kate's three-year-old at the leisure centre clashes with home time for schools.

Kate, 43, said: "There have been times where she has had to drive round the car park's one-way system for over twenty minutes waiting for a disabled bay to become free.

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"It's incredibly frustrating and really disrespectful. I wouldn't dream of parking in a disabled bay, even for five minutes, but they stay there for up to 40 minutes, usually just shamelessly sat in the car on their phone.

"The centre is being used as a extra car park for the school, and it shouldn't be. I think it's just laziness on the parents' behalf if I'm honest."

Kate said on one visit to the leisure centre she counted just six out of "around 20" cars parked in a disabled bay had a Blue Badge in the window.


She added the drivers would "avoid her gaze and clearly feel awkward" but still refused to move their illegally parked cars.

She also said she had complained to Ponteland Leisure Centre directly, which acknowledged the issue, but said as it was a council owned car park it was not their responsibility.

Ponteland Primary School declined to comment.

But its policy for parking on its website tells parents to "encourage child(ren) to walk, scoot or cycle to school whenever possible".

Northumberland County Council said that a parking order is to be applied for at the leisure centre car park, which will see Penalty Charge Notices being dealt to vehicles parking in disabled bays without displaying blue badges.

A spokesperson for the council told Chronicle Live: "We are aware of the ongoing issues regarding parking on this site, in particular users parking in accessible bays without a blue badge.

"Building users are regularly advised about the need to keep these bays vacant for those who specifically need them.

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