This is what happens when you don’t spell out everything on a project.
Painters in the UK’s Essex County are about to embark on their third attempt at what seemed to be a simple job: lining a single parking space for a severely disabled child along a busy residential street.
The first try wrapped the space around a street lamp. The second wedged it up against a flight of public stairs. The third attempt might involve moving the pole.
The child’s mother is disgusted, and taxpayers are furious.
The flap began in February, when the Essex County Council finally agreed to a longtime request by resident Rebecca Fairchild to have a designated disabled parking space near her home.
Fairchild’s son, Joshua, 5, has autism and epilepsy, and needs extra time and space to get out of the car safely, said his mother, who fought 10 months for the space.
After waiting weeks, Fairchild returned home one day to find a freshly painted space—inexplicably— surrounding a lamppost.
|Strike 1: Rebecca Fairchild and son Joshua show the parking space that was painted to help the family of the disabled child.|
“I thought it was some kind of a joke,” a stunned Fairchild told reporters. “I just couldn’t believe somebody could do that. But when I realized it was there to stay, I wasn’t laughing.”
Fairchild said the lamppost had not been in the plans her family had been sent to review. Nevertheless, the work crew apparently “ignored what was in front of their eyes and followed the plans to the letter,” she said.
‘It’s just ridiculous,” she said. “We’re totally mortified by the whole thing. Who in their right mind would put a disabled bay around a lamp post?”
Other neighbors with disabilities were also outraged. Said one: “When I first saw it with the lamppost in the middle, I was in shock and it became a laughing stock,” she told the Daily Mirror. “People stopped and took photos.”
The contractor on the job was May Gurney Infrastructure Services, which has offices throughout the UK. The parking space remained there for days, until the Council ordered the contractor to move it.
“May Gurney is sorry for the confusion that has led to this disabled bay being inappropriately located, and we will be moving it as quickly as possible,” a company spokesman told the Daily Mail.
|Strike 2: Painters move the space but place it directly in front of public stairs to a housing complex.|
Officials said the contractor paid to redo the work. (A spokeswoman for May Gurney said Friday that the company would have no immediate comment.)
When the paint crew returned, however, it moved the space about three feet and directly into the path of a flight of public stairs to Fairchild’s housing complex, blocking both pedestrians and anyone trying to exit the car.
Now, officials plan to move the space back—after they move the street lamp. The council also plans to install a new zebra crossing Oct. 11 on the same street.
That cost, which has not yet been disclosed, will be borne by taxpayers, a spokesman for Essex County Council told the Daily Mirror.
|Strike 3? The third try, officials say, will involve moving the lamppole.|
“We are trying to accommodate the needs of all residents concerned and plan to reassess the location of the disabled bay once a new zebra crossing is installed on the same street,” a County Councilman said.
Said one neighbor: “In a way, I’m happy it is being moved again, so everyone is happy with where it is.
“But the whole thing is ridiculous.”