Anger over parking space misuse

Parent and child parking bays are not always used in the way they were intended
Parent and child parking bays are not always used in the way they were intended

The rights and wrongs of parent and child parking have sparked a fierce debate.

A quick search online shows hundreds of threads on parenting forums - with a mixture of people bemoaning their misuse and others questioning the need for them at all.

Posters on the Falkirk Herald’s Facebook page have been particularly vocal on the subject.

Tracey Sellars wrote: “I think parent and child spaces should be for parents with kids in buggies or maybe under-fives only. I once had words with a woman who thought having her two teenagers with her gave her the right to park in a parent and child space.”

Jennifer Park commented: “It’s a hassle parking in a normal space because nine times out of 10 there isn’t enough room to get the baby out the car without banging the car next to you.

‘‘This means parking miles away from the shops so that you can get a space with no one around you.”

For shoppers in the Howgate and most supermarkets, the spaces are provided as a courtesy rather than as a legal requirement.

Margaret Foy, marketing manager at the Howgate, Falkirk, said: “If someone does park in there who doesn’t have children or doesn’t have car seats in the car then we will leave a note on their windscreen asking if they are aware that it is a family first area.

“We try to encourage people to think about their fellow customers.”

For many parents though, the spaces are vital.

Lucy Kirkland, branch co-ordinator for Falkirk and West Lothian NCT, said: “Finding parking spaces with enough room to get car seats in and out of, and manoeuvre a buggy round can be difficult, so designated parent-and-child spaces really do make life easier – especially if you are struggling with a baby and a toddler. It is also important that the safe walking route from these places are kept clear.

“Shops and retail premises should endeavour not to block walkways with ad hoc trolley storage.

“NCT is a member of the family friendly scheme, which aims to work towards a family friendly society – this includes making parking facilities as accessible as possible for parents and children.”

A spokesperson for Tesco Redding said: “Parent and child parking spaces are located as close to the entrance as possible to make it as safe as possible so there are no roads to cross to get into the shop.

“They’re not overly monitored but we don’t have a lot of abuse of them.”