Clamping battle for tenant Mike

Derby House Flats in Scholes
Derby House Flats in Scholes

A WIGAN cancer sufferer is fighting a controversial clamping fine.

Retired miner Mike Connelly, 74, says his daughter’s Nissan Micra was immobilised in the car park outside his high rise home as she returned with his weekly ‘supermarket’ shopping errand.

Normally he is down to meet her with the residents-only parking pass to protect visitor’s vehicles from prosecution by contractors engaged by the council to prevent shoppers abusing the spaces.

But he had been forced to rush his 73-years-old wife Catherine - an out patient at the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease unit - back to Wigan Infirmary for oxygen treatment after a breathing emergency minutes earlier.

Mike, a former underground deputy at Parkside pit up to closure, has increasing difficulty with mobility because of tumours in his lungs.

He is currently under the care of The Christie and has faced several operations over the past seven years.

Mr Connelly is usually able to get down to ground floor level from their tenement flat at Woodcock House, Scholes Village, in the 15 minute “window” tenants are allowed before the clampers move in.

But his wife’s emergency - she had collapsed in the town centre only two days earlier and was rushed to the COPD unit by ambulance - made this impossible.

Clampers charged him £80 cash to free distraught daughter Lois Causey’s Nissan car from the wheel lock, discounting their explanations.

The cost was a big blow for the pensioner couple’s Christmas budgeting.

Now his case is being backed by high rise tenants’ rights campaigner Syd Hall, who has called on Wigan and Leigh Housing refund the fine on “humanitarian” grounds because of the Connelly’s joint battle against serious ill health.

Mr Hall said: “Despite full explaining the unfortunate circumstances the clampers would not listen but we now believe a full refund should be considered.”

Brave Mike, who was told this week that the cancer had now spread through his body, said that the council are ignoring abuse of neighbouring ‘disabled’ bays by none-Blue Badge drivers.

He said: “I was only away five or ten minutes so my daughter was very upset to be clamped because she didn’t know I had to go straight to the hospital with her Mum.

“We tried to explain the circumstances but the clamper didn’t want to know.” A Wigan and Leigh Housing spokesman said today that they were looking into Mr Connnelly’s complaint.

Director of Strategy, Policy and Projects at Wigan and Leigh Housing Janice Barton said that they would look into the details of the case.

She said: “ In a recent review the majority of tenants who responded were in support of the clamping scheme, which was introduced in 2009 to protect residents who were having difficulty parking at the blocks, continuing.

“All residents are given two permits and some choose to give their second permits to family members who visit regularly. A grace period of 15 minutes is also allowed when someone calls to visit a tenant.”