Blue Badge park­ing

Lost in trans­la­tion - A play on words leads to upset

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - NEWS - By Irena Bodnarec ibodnarec@cb­

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.

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