A DISABLED man and his wheelchair-bound wife claim they have been threatened with eviction for parking their car in their front garden.
For more than a year, Michael Bond and his wife Eileen have been asking South Tyneside Council for a disabled parking bay outside their home in Hexham Avenue, Hebburn.
They would also be happy for a dropped kerb being installed so they can access a driveway they built in their front garden last summer, they say.
Both those pleas have been turned down by council chiefs, however.
Mr Bond has spinal sciatica, and his wife, who has a broken ankle, suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and fibromyalgia, a syndrome causing widespread pain.
Last week, the couple received a letter from the council warning them that they are in breach of their tenancy agreement by parking on the paved section of their front garden and could be at risk of enforcement action being taken because it’s illegal to drive over a public footpath.
Mr Bond, 43, who has just had a ligament replaced on his knee, said: “My wife depends on a wheelchair, and I can’t walk too well either.
“We’ve asked and asked for a parking spot outside our home, or for a dropped kerb to be created, but it’s just fallen on deaf ears.
“The road outside can be very busy at times, and it’s hard trying to get to our car when it’s not right outside our home.
“We used to park it at the front of the house, but now that we’ve received this letter, we are scared to. We don’t want to be evicted.”
Mr Bond says they have been told that there is no suitable location for a disabled bay outside of their South Tyneside Homes property, and the cost of a dropped kerb, to enable them to create a proper driveway, would be about £1,250.
While the couple say they can’t pay the full cost of such works, they could meet the council half-way.
Mr Bond said: “There’s walk-in showers inside the house and wheelchair ramps outside our home.
“It’s clear there is indeed a mobility issue, yet we aren’t being allowed something as simple as this.
“We are both registered disabled, so we couldn’t afford to foot the full bill, but we are willing to pay half.
“I have suggested that I source the materials cheaper, get the work carried out and then perhaps they could come and inspect it afterwards – but that’s no good either.”
The Bonds have now lodged an appeal against the council’s decision with the Local Government Ombudsman.
A council spokesman added: “In the event that the ombudsman produces recommendations in respect of this matter, we will, of course, carefully consider them.”