PARENTS in the Tyne Valley are growing frustrated that people are misusing car parking bays designated for motorists with young children.

Hexham mother of two, Jemma Rogers (33) claimed people with young families were being put off visiting Hexham because they could not find parent/toddler parking spaces, which are wider to allow parents more space to get their children in and out of vehicles.

Jemma said she and friends had faced a barrage of abuse from people not entitled to use the bays, particularly older people, when informed of the rules.

The worst area for this sort of incident was the town’s Wentworth car park, she said, but she added that she also experienced problems in Tesco and Marks and Spencer.

She said: “I want to draw attention to this because it’s usually a pain trying to get into Hexham when you can’t find anywhere to park.

“I couldn’t actually tell you how many times that I’ve witnessed people misusing the spaces, because there’s been that many.

“When I was taking my son to a gym class at the Wentworth recently, I pointed at the sign to an older lady who had parked in one of the spaces but hadn’t any children in the car. She didn’t take too kindly to me to informing her she was in the wrong space and she verbally abused me in front of my children, so I contacted the police.

“It’s such a problem that friends of mine have told me they avoid coming into Hexham because they can’t get a parent space.”

A spokeswoman for Northumberland County Council said: “Parent and child bays are provided to support parents with young children. However, due to the difficulties of establishing eligibility, for example some types of baby seat are carried from the vehicle, it is not possible to enforce their use.

“While we appreciate that their misuse can be frustrating, the bays are purely advisory and correct use relies on the honesty of drivers. We would ask all users to respect the use of these spaces for people with young children.”