Disabled Phil Chrystal forced to sleep in car in Herne Bay when other drivers park in his space
A disabled dad is being forced to sleep in his car because a special parking spot outside his home is snapped up by other drivers.
The council installed the disabled bay for Phil Chrystal in 2010 after he suffered a crippling spinal injury at work.
But when other blue badge holders bag the space, Mr Chrystal is left with no choice but to bed down in his Renault, as he is unable to walk any further than the distance from the bay to his front door.
Scroll down for video
Disabled Phil Chrystal has been forced to sleep in his car
It means late-night hospital appointments often end in a rough sleep for the 47-year-old.
He says it has happened at least 30 times in the last year and countless times since the bay was put in outside the flat he rents in Station Road, Herne Bay.
He wants the council to privatise the space so only he can use it.
Mr Chrystal, who was injured in 2007 and struggles to walk more than 10ft on crutches, said: “I was told it is my bay but people don’t realise it’s for me because it has not been properly privatised.
Phil next to the disabled parking space
“If I get back from hospital late at night, there seems to be a car there every time.
“The walk makes me breathless. It is exceptionally painful.
“It’s like someone shoving a steel spike through your back and up into your shoulder blades. It is not just hospital appointments.
"When I come back with frozen food, I lose it all because I am not able to get it indoors.
"My neighbours have been good and pop out to tell people to move because it was put there for me, but people keep parking there.”
Since his injury, Mr Chrystal has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The father of two, who lives alone, has check-ups on his injury at King’s College Hospital in London, and in the past has travelled to QEQM in Margate and Kent and Canterbury Hospital.
He said: “I just want people to leave me alone and let me get in.”
Canterbury City Council’s transportation manager Richard Moore said: “We are sorry to hear about the problems being experienced by this gentleman.
“In common with most local authorities the council’s current policy is that disabled persons’ parking bays (DPPBs) are available for use by all blue badge holders.
“I just want people to leave me alone and let me get in” - Phil Chrystal
“Until recently this was a requirement of the Department for Transport and the only signs that could be used indicated that the bays were for general use.
“The DfT has now authorised the use of a new version of the sign and road marking for a DPPB indicating that a bay can be reserved for an individual blue badge holder in certain circumstances.
“The council is shortly due to review its policy to consider whether it would be appropriate to use the new sign in particular cases and to decide which criteria would need to apply.
“We will consider this particular case as part of the review.”
- Click here for more Canterbury news
- Click here for more news from across the county