Blue Badge parking
Lost in translation - A play on words leads to upset
BRITISH resident Katherine Chamberlain, who was here with her husband David visiting their son in La Nucía, contacted Costa Blanca News.
Mr Chamberlain has a valid Blue Badge issued by Blackpool Council - where they live. They felt like they were ‘named and shamed’ for parking in a disabled bay, as a cropped photograph showing the rear of their van next to the disabled parking sign, appeared on La Nucía’s local police Facebook page (Policía Local La Nucía) with the words “Don’t be a 'cheeky' animal, don’t occupy their space”. (No seas un animal demasiado vivo, no ocupes su sitio).
Although the registration number was pixelated, the couple recognised their vehicle and were shocked on seeing the post and photo of their Citroen Relay van, which Katherine uses to transport animals between Spain and the UK, marked with ‘Live animals’ on the back door. The Blue Badge was ‘clearly displayed’ said Katherine as is required and valid in all EU member states for visitors.
She works travelling back and forth between the UK and Spain but does not spend more than a week in a month here and is not a resident here either. Her children do live in La Nucía and Finestrat.
She has proof of all her ferry crossings back and forth and fuel receipts to show that she is constantly on the road. Katherine told CBN that they have never had a problem and use the badge here in Spain as well as across France, Switzerland, Holland and Germany whenever David is traveling.
Katherine posted a message on the Facebook post stating that they were Blue Badge holders, therefore entitled to park in the bay. Her husband has only just been well enough to cope with travel over the last 6 months. They parked in the bay at the side of Carbón Restaurant, heading down towards the school and auditorium which is usually full of local residents’ cars, as they were going for Sunday lunch.
The police replied that the badge needs to be in a visible place and authorised by the– the Valencian Regional Government, possibly thinking that they were residents here.
CBN contacted La Nucía police and the police chief explained that they took advantage of the words
‘live animals’ on the back of the van to make a play on words to drive home the message that the bay is only for disabled people. Live meaning 'alive' aswell as 'cheeky' in Spanish.
There was no fine issued as the Blue Badge was valid. The police chief apologised profusely for the misunderstanding caused to the couple and immediately removed the van’s photograph from the page. He stated that the department aims to promote road safety and ensure those with reduced mobility are not discriminated against and that Blue Badges issued in member EU states are valid for holiday periods.
This may now raise alarm with many British residents who are and have been using UK issued Blue Badges despite actually being resident here.
A UK issued disabled Blue Bbadge is only valid for holiday periods of no more than 6 months. Once you take up residence here in Spain you have to apply for a Spanish disabled parking badge.
Here in the Alicante region you must have 33% disablility certified by a Spanish doctorand go through a thorough process with the Social Security, providing medical records.