viernes, 22 de julio de 2022

World-famous graffiti artist paints mural in support of wheelchair user taken to court for parking in disabled bay

 The mural, which appeared in Ferry Road in Cardiff, has been signed by Glasgow street artist The Rebel Bear


A graffiti artist who has murals all over the world has painted a mural in support of a wheelchair user who was told to pay more than £1,000 for repeatedly parking in a disabled bay. Cerys Gemma, 34, lives in Cardiff Bay’s Prospect Place apartment complex where she has been allocated a standard space in the car park.

However Cerys says that the space is “tiny” and is flanked by a pillar which makes it impossible for her to get her wheelchair out of her car. She has instead been using a disabled bay which New Generation Parking Management says is only for visitors.

Earlier this month the firm made a claim through the County Court Business Centre over five unpaid fines amounting to £800. The company is demanding £1,036 from Cerys including interest and legal cost – meaning a bill totalling more than £1,800. 

Now a mural by a graffiti artist dubbed the ‘Scottish Banksy’ has appeared in Cardiff’s Ferry Road in support of Cerys, who lost the use of her legs when she was 17 in a car accident. The mural, which depicts a parking attendant clamping Cerys’ wheelchair as she holds a penalty charge, seems to have been signed off by street muralist The Rebel Bear.

The identity of the Glasgow street artist is unknown as they hide their identity while publicly creating work by donning a bear costume. They are best known for their mural of a painting in Glasgow entitled Fear and Love of a male-female couple both dropping their protective masks a bit from covering their noses and mouths to engage in a kiss.
“It’s great, I felt super-encouraged by it,” Cerys told WalesOnline about the mural. While she had not seen the mural in person at the time of speaking she added that she planned to go and see it to take a picture and has seen it while driving past.

“It’s good to know people are on your side fighting your corner. I was astounded by it in a good way,” she said. “I’ve seen his stuff online and from what I gather he’s not from this area. He or she put all that effort in and I thought the creativity of it was really good,” she added.

The Rebel Bear made headlines with their work related to the coronavirus pandemic with a mural of a nurse appearing on Ashton Lane in Glasgow. The artist also created a mural in Brooklyn, New York, called The Rotten Apple.

Cerys said she hasn’t since had any contact from the parking company “personally” but has seen a statement that they published on their website. She said: “Nothing’s really changed to be honest with you. What it has done is brought awareness of it".

She said she’s had a “positive response from other residents” following the initial article about her situation. “A good chunk are really annoyed about the ongoing situation with the parking company,” she said.

“Living there has become really difficult for other people. It’s been interesting to see how many people are frustrated for different reasons with the situation there.”

A New Generation spokesman previously told WalesOnline: "Miss Cerys Gemma was informed August 2020 via email: 'We are conscious that it is your intention to continue using the disabled visitors bay as your own personal space. However we have to make it absolutely clear that there are financial consequences to ignoring the terms and conditions that are set out on the contractual signage located at the disabled bays. Additionally we need to also make it clear that it is not your allocated bay and is for the use of all disabled visitors.'

"Cerys was aware that if she continued to breach the parking terms and conditions she would continue to incur further parking charge notices. She has chosen to ignore these charges and therefore we have no choice but to take legal action through the courts. Disabled bays within Prospect Place have always been for the use of visitors only. This has not changed since Miss Gemma became a resident in July 2020.

"There are just under 1,000 flats located within Prospect Place, each one with allocated parking of which Cerys would have been made aware of before she decided to move into the property. There is limited space available for visitor parking and six visitor disabled bays. In addition to this parking is currently limited due to ongoing cladding works. It is simply not viable to give special permission to residents to allow them to use visitor spaces or visitor disabled bays as their own personal bay. It would further limit the accessibility and availability for visitors who need these spaces.

"We are astounded to be accused of disability discrimination when we have communicated with Cerys exactly what the rules are and why they are in place. While we sympathise with Cerys we do not have the power to move her parking space which she agreed to when entering into the lease agreement. The disabled bays will continue to be for the use of visitors only as changing this rule for one resident would mean we would need to change it for everyone. There are limited options available to disabled visitors and we refuse to limit these even more. We will continue to ensure that to the best of our ability the visitor spaces are fair and available for all visitors, including disabled drivers."  

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