Bristol Wheelchair user unreachable in an emergency after being boxed in by parked vehicles

  • Natascha shares their frustrations about how bad parking is putting their life and livelihood at risk

A wheelchair user from Bristol has blamed the council after becoming trapped in their home by parked vehicles.

Natascha Imlay, from Bedminster, could not get to work on 22 November because a poorly parked van and car had boxed in the door of their flat.

They say the car park that backs onto the entrance of their home has stopped being monitored by the council’s parking enforcement team, and people are parking illegally. 

In the event of an emergency, Natascha says a fire engine or ambulance would not be able to get to them.

Natascha has now put notes on the careless drivers’ vehicles.

Natascha was only able to move a few feet from their front door after they became trapped. Credit: BPM Media

They said it’s not the first time something like this has happened. 

“It’s only the last six weeks - before that the council were sending parking attendants here and drivers didn’t park where they wanted to,” the former teacher said.

“I’ve lived here since 2012 and it has never been a problem before.”

The council’s parking enforcement team appears to have stopped coming to issue tickets and check people are paying the fees in the car park that backs onto Natascha’s flat. 

The United Kingdom has an estimated 1.2 million wheelchair users. Credit: BPM Media

On one occasion Natascha called Avon and Somerset Police as well as Bristol City Council to report being trapped.

Police officers attempted to identify and contact the owners of the vehicles to ask them to move and Bristol City Council arrived and ticketed the cars at some point before noon. 

But Natascha remained trapped in the vehicles until around 2 pm - more than five hours after they wanted to leave. 

Natascha added: "The police arrived at 1 pm and found the van driver at about 2 pm, the van driver moved their vehicle, but I don’t know who it was, the car was still there until late at night but was gone this morning.

“I was a secondary school science teacher before I contracted long Covid, and I’m in a wheelchair now, so I just can’t squeeze past.”

ITV News has approached Bristol City Council for a comment and is awaiting a response.