Disabled Blackburn worker faces increase in rent for managing car park

Mark Pickering at the car park at Wesley Hall Methodist Church

Mark Pickering at the car park at Wesley Hall Methodist Church

First published in News Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Photograph of the Author by

A DISABLED worker fears he could lose his home after church bosses more than doubled his fee for managing its car park.

Mark Pickering, who has operated Park With Mark at Wesley Hall Methodist Church since 1994, claims he is being forced out to allow the Feilden Street church to fund a project for asylum seekers.

Methodist leaders confirmed that they were seeking to increase income from the car park in order to improve its ARC Together in Hope programme, which gives English lessons and advice to refugees arriving in Blackburn.

Mr Pickering, who has learning disabilites after suffering from hydroce-phalus as a youngster, has been told his rent will increase from £3,600 per year to £7,800 from September 30.

The 38-year-old, of Hambledon View, Read, said he was ‘devastated’ at the decision taken by the church’s management committee. He said: “I feel like I have been treated terribly. My regular customers can’t believe it. The committee called us in for a meeting in January and explained the situation to us but I feel let down.”

Mark’s twin brother, John, said Mark had worked 52 hour weeks for the past 20 years and never missed a day in spite of various hospital appointments. He said: “They are basically making him unemployable. He has no official qualifications and the car park has been his whole working life.

“He had a mortgage and doesn’t want to become a drain on the benefits system. He only earns about £10,000 a year but it gives him independence and self-worth. The church thinks it can earn £30,000 a year from the car park using number-plate recognition but that’s nonsense.”

Wesley Hall Methodist Church spokeswoman Anna Drew said the church was required by law to get the best possible deal on any leasing agreement. She said: “Because of this, after much consideration, the West Pennine Moors Methodist Circuit decided to increase the rent of the church car park. The rent has not been increased for some years and the church needs to raise funds for its work in the area. The work with refugees and asylum seekers is absolutely vital to the church.”

Mark’s mum, Sylvia, 73, said: “I’m a churchgoer, but if this is religion, I want out.”

Comments (7)

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6:19pm Fri 15 Aug 14

sen c b l says...

Another buffoon worshippers. Why does it have to be the fault of the religion?
This is what we call politics.

Mentality of the human.
Another buffoon worshippers. Why does it have to be the fault of the religion? This is what we call politics. Mentality of the human. sen c b l
  • Score: -1

11:46pm Fri 15 Aug 14

noddy57 says...

Ruthless ,,no other word for it.
Ruthless ,,no other word for it. noddy57
  • Score: 0

7:35am Sat 16 Aug 14

2 for 5p ridesagain says...

People who attend this church should boycott it, until they reverse the decision.
People who attend this church should boycott it, until they reverse the decision. 2 for 5p ridesagain
  • Score: 1

4:02pm Sat 16 Aug 14

Rumpole says...

"""Wesley Hall Methodist Church spokeswoman Anna Drew said the church was required by law to get the best possible deal on any leasing agreement."""

Which law is this?
"""Wesley Hall Methodist Church spokeswoman Anna Drew said the church was required by law to get the best possible deal on any leasing agreement.""" Which law is this? Rumpole
  • Score: 3

9:19pm Sat 16 Aug 14

Graham Hartley says...

If the religious could be just a little better organised - and they stand already so well together - then they could make better use of the billions in their care so that the funds raised by this man's efforts would be enough. The smelly, staid whole of Wesley Hall Methodist (anagram) won't do it.
If the religious could be just a little better organised - and they stand already so well together - then they could make better use of the billions in their care so that the funds raised by this man's efforts would be enough. The smelly, staid whole of Wesley Hall Methodist (anagram) won't do it. Graham Hartley
  • Score: 1

7:14am Sun 17 Aug 14

Excluded again says...

Rumpole wrote:
"""Wesley Hall Methodist Church spokeswoman Anna Drew said the church was required by law to get the best possible deal on any leasing agreement."""

Which law is this?
Charity law. Charities are required by law to maximise income from commercial contracts to benefit the people they are supposed to help, not subsidise commercial companies. This has been charity law for decades.

However, in this case given Mr Pickering's situation they could easily argue that they were pursuing charitable objects in providing a vulnerable person in the community they serve with employment.
[quote][p][bold]Rumpole[/bold] wrote: """Wesley Hall Methodist Church spokeswoman Anna Drew said the church was required by law to get the best possible deal on any leasing agreement.""" Which law is this?[/p][/quote]Charity law. Charities are required by law to maximise income from commercial contracts to benefit the people they are supposed to help, not subsidise commercial companies. This has been charity law for decades. However, in this case given Mr Pickering's situation they could easily argue that they were pursuing charitable objects in providing a vulnerable person in the community they serve with employment. Excluded again
  • Score: 3

9:34pm Mon 18 Aug 14

Ian Tunnacliffe says...

Immoral!!!. How sad to read the words "church" and "best possible deal" in the same sentence!!!. Make a stand against this shameful move by a supposed Christian movement, people...
Immoral!!!. How sad to read the words "church" and "best possible deal" in the same sentence!!!. Make a stand against this shameful move by a supposed Christian movement, people... Ian Tunnacliffe
  • Score: 2

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