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Disabled Win Compromise In Fight Over Hospital Parking

The fight for free parking for disabled drivers at Northwick Park Hospital has finally borne fruit.

A meeting between the hospital's senior management; the company which operates its car parks, First Management Group, and Harrow Association of Disabled People (HAD), has resulted in the granting of 25 free spaces for orange badge holders and a guarantee of no-clamping for six months, while the situation is under continual review by all parties.

The exact location of the free spaces has yet to be agreed, and even orange badge holders will be fined, after a warning, if they park illegally. FMG also agreed to modify its pay-and-display machines, some of which are inaccessible to the disabled.

HAD chairman Michael Lazar, who has been leading the campaign since February, was pleased with the outcome.

"Orange badge holders will now be able to park free as long as there is a space available," he said. "Obviously, we would have liked there to be a greater number but the economics of the situation could not be ignored.

"Our main demand of a no clamping policy has been met by FMG for the review period of six months, although it is highly likely that this period will be extended."

NPH chief executive Ken Sutton welcomed the agreement but warned that any loss of car parking income would have to come from patient care funds, which he blamed on the funding problems of the NHS, and not to the disabled people.

HAD's fight was supported by hundreds of Times Series readers who signed petition forms in the paper.

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000.Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.



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