Worthing pensioner who painted her parking space pleads with council to let her keep it

The disabled space in Lanfranc Road, Worthing
The disabled space in Lanfranc Road, Worthing

A Worthing pensioner who painted over her own parking space has pleaded with the council to let her keep it.

Brenda Butler, 80, from Lanfranc Road, Worthing, said the disabled space had been outside her home for 25 years and needed a lick of paint.

Despite asking West Sussex County Council to touch it up, nothing was done, she said – so Brenda took matters into her own hands and asked her builder to repaint it.

However, the unconventional markings soon drew the attention of the county council, who told Brenda they would be taking the space away.

She said: “It is a lifeline for me. I need my car; I can’t carry heavy shopping so to be able to park outside my house is very helpful to me.

“If I haven’t got my space, I will have to get rid of my car and my independence is down the drain.”

She added: “This area is jam-packed with cars. Without that space I don’t know where I would park, and I can’t tramp up and down the road – I find walking difficult.”

Brenda moved into her house 40 years ago with her mother Elsie and husband Robert, who both were blue badge holders.

After Robert died recently, Brenda continued using the space, despite not having a badge herself.

She asked her builder to repaint the space on Friday, March 6, and got the letter from the council on Saturday, March 14. She claimed it said they would be removing the space by March 24 and billing her for the costs.

She said: “It was very threatening; the wording – saying I was in the wrong, get rid of it or else – I didn’t like that attitude.”

Brenda, who has arthritis in both her knees and had a hip replacement, said she would be applying for a blue badge – and urged the council to reconsider.

She said: “I’m just hoping they understand. I didn’t actually realise I was doing anything wrong by painting over the lines; if I had known I would have just left it.

“I thought I was doing the right thing and helping out, but obviously not.”

A county council spokesman said they wrote to the property owner after being alerted to the issue, adding: “This required a formal letter because someone has unlawfully painted markings on the highway, which not only provides confusion to local residents but will also have to be removed at public expense.

“If the property owner would like to contact us, we will gladly discuss how she can make an application. Information on this is available online.

“If an applicant meets our criteria, then a bay will be painted, and we will ensure any traffic signs and road markings meet the national regulations.”