Monday, 2 January 2017

Freeview -v- Pay Per View

Forgive me for kicking off the year with a rant, but it's a small one and I'm pretty sure many of you
Windermere - Pay Per View
will share my pain...  Our Christmas and New Years celebrations took us across the country to visit family and, as is our wont, we gave the family the slip a couple of times and went off in search of a walk.  As Steve isn't currently in the market for long hikes and as my wheelchair bound mum was with us on a few occasions, I realised how much parking charges disproportionately affect the less mobile.

Pretty much all of the parking spots that were near to a view had a charge attached to them - the highest we saw was £4 per hour.  We had to dig deep into our local knowledge to locate free car parks near to a nice, flat, walk.  When there's just the two of us in full health we'd happily park some distance from the start point, or take a different route, to avoid parking fees but when one of you is in a wheelchair and another on crutches, that isn't an option - even a blue badge doesn't help as many councils no longer offer free parking in disabled bays.
Dorney Common - surprisingly Freeview

We found this to be particularly true in the South East, although Cumbria can be just as bad.  My rant isn't just for the less able, it's also for the less affluent.  We're not desperately short of cash these days, but if you fancy visiting a few places for a few short walks you can quickly find yourself spending well in excess of £10 per day just on parking - in the midst of an obesity crisis, how is that helping people get outdoors more?  

I honestly don't know what the answer is, but I know part of it should be to stop charging for parking in disabled bays.  I understand that councils need to generate more income in the face of huge cuts but a) charging the disabled isn't the answer and b) lots of the car parks we saw were privately owned anyway.  Or maybe councils could waive fees for one day per month to give everyone the chance to get outdoors and enjoy views from places like Virginia Water, Windermere and Grange-over-Sands (just 3 of the places we've visited over the hols).

For my part I'm going to fly in the face of (some) public opinion and talk about where we park for free when I'm writing blogs (I've genuinely had folks ranting at me for talking about "secret" free parking) - but for now, here are a few more of our festive views - most of which are Freeview because I'm mean that way...  Happy New Year!

Burnham Beeches - Pay Per View

Coniston Water - Freeview

Chapel of St Mary Magdalene - Freeview

Lancaster Canal - Freeview

View from Gummer's How - Freeview

Walk to the shops - Chalfont St Peter - Freeview

Chalfont Common - Freeview