Seven year old Doncaster girl has had 42 broken bones, and had 24 operations – but parents struggled to find disabled parking for her 

She is seven years old, has had 42 broken bones, and had 24 operations. 

But her family say they are struggling to find parking spaces to help little Milly Thompson because of a loss of disabled parking in Doncaster town centre.

Sisters Jess, 18 and Milly Thompson, seven, pictured, both suffer with Osteogenisis Imperfecta. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP-20-11-18-Thompson-1

Sisters Jess, 18 and Milly Thompson, seven, pictured, both suffer with Osteogenisis Imperfecta. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP-20-11-18-Thompson-1

And they fear many other families are suffering from the same problem as a range of works are carried out to transform the area.

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Milly was born suffering from a rare condition called osteogenesis imperfecta, which means she has brittle bones. As a result, she has been in a wheelchair since she was a small child. She is registered as disabled.

She has had metal rods inserted in her legs to help strengthen them, but has still had to be taken to hospital this year for treatment for a serious leg break.It involved an ambulance trip from Doncaster to Sheffield Children’s Hospital, with the blue light flashing, after she had fallen after reaching for a television remote control at home.

But recently her family waited nearly two hours to try to find a disabled parking space in Doncaster town centre – after spaces were lost due to construction work at the market.

Her family, from Mansfield Crescent, Armthorpe, feared it would mean she would have to miss the Christmas lights switch on  – but the Free Press stepped in to help broker an arrangement with the council to make sure the family could park on the night.

Mum Andrea, aged 43, who also suffers from the same condition, but to a lesser extent, and is not registered as disabled, says she believes Doncaster has seen its number of town centre disabled spaces plummet recently.

Work to redesign Doncaster Market has meant the original 23 disabled bays at the markets car park fell to 10.

She added redevelopment work at Hall Gate had also seen disabled spaces lost, while High Street and Priory Place and Scot Lane had lost places for loading bays to be built.

Andrea said: “Milly has rods in both legs, and only really was able to walk for the first 14 weeks of her life. She relies on her wheelchair. She needs a lot of room to be able to get out of a car.

“She cannot go to playgrounds, or trampoline parks, because her legs would break. But she likes to come down to town to go to a cafe, or to see the Christmas lights.

“But there have not been enough disabled spaces in the town centre for three or four months. The market is horrendous now.

“We had to wait 20 minutes to find somewhere to park when we came to town recently for a speech therapy appointment, We were even told by an attendant we could not wait in the car park.”

Milly’s older sister, Jessica added: “Christmas seems a strange time to be taking away so many disabled bays.”

Officials at Doncaster Council confirmed there had been changes to parking arrangements as a result of some of the major construction projects which are intended to transform the face of the town centre.

But they said it was temporary and work was being done to ease the problem.

Peter Dale, director of regeneration and environment, said: “Whilst some of our transformational town centre schemes are completed there have been some changes to parking arrangements around the construction sites.

“We are aware of the temporary loss of designated blue badge spaces at the markets car park and are in the process of changing some wider bays into designated blue badge spaces to counteract that.

“Blue badge holders can currently park in the wider marked bays for free and once the car park improvements are completed the number of designated disabled bays will have increased from 25 to 29 spaces.

“We would like to remind blue badge holders that they can park on most streets in the town centre for free. They can park on roads marked with single and double yellow lines, in the on street pay and display bays, limited waiting bays and disabled bays.

“We are committed to providing appropriate parking provision for blue badge holders in Doncaster.”

Crackdown on blue badge abusers

A crackdown on people who park in disabled parking bays when they do not have the right to do so has been launched to try to make it easier for genuinely disabled motorists and passengers to find spaces.

Officials at Doncaster Council say they are taking action to deal with the issue, with a prosecution taking place recently at Doncaster Magistrates Court.

Satnam Singh from Lindsey Close, Bessacarr, appeared before the  court for a blue badge misuse offence. He pleaded guilty and was fined £120 plus £330.73 in costs and a £30 voluntary surcharge. 

“We are...clamping down on people who misuse blue badges to make sure the dedicated spaces are available for genuine users,” said Peter Dale, director of regeneration and environment at the council

Council parking wardens and enforcement officers are collating evidence, and where enough evidences is available will take action.