PLEASE don’t put your Blue Badge through the paper shredder just yet!
Disabled people using the ‘Orange Badge’ parking scheme in Boston, had a similar proposal to contend with 10 or 15 years ago. Fortunately on that occasion common sense prevailed, when it was pointed out that the borough’s pay and display ticket machines were not wheelchair accessible or user friendly, because of a surrounding kerb and their height. It was also pointed out that when ticket machines were replaced at any car parking facilities containing disabled bays, barriers at any entrance or exit, where you insert a coin or collect a ticket, were not suitable or user friendly for many disabled drivers.
This proposed loss of the free Blue Badge parking concession in Boston, needs fighting all the way. I believe if this goes ahead every district in Lincolnshire and possibly beyond, will most certainly consider and look very seriously at the financial aspect of adopting the very same policy. And if this policy starts being adopted by many other councils up and down the country, simply could we end up with a two or three tier system with differing rules in different areas, which could undermine or destroy the very basis of the national Blue Badge Scheme?
Concessionary Blue Badge parking is not about the ability of the disabled or the elderly with mobility issues to pay parking charges, but about making life that little easier for those with limitations on their mobility who may struggle and find it difficult or exhausting to get to and from a ticket machine, before continuing with the it other independent living tasks on a visit to town. There are some who also believe that Blue Badge concessionary car parking should be restricted to disabled bays only! But if you can use a normal-sized parking bay, which may be nearer your desired destination and a more suitable option if you have mobility limitations, of course this should also be permitted.
If we lose this free council car parking concession could we simply see more dangerous double yellow lines on street and town centre area parking? With slower moving disabled or elderly people, complete with their walking aids and mobility equipment, being loaded into or unloaded out of vehicles at the pavement/road side? This would most certainly create a far greater element of danger and a greater risk for personal safety?
If one local district council can offer a concession within the basis of the National Blue Badge Car Parking Scheme and another does not offer, do we have an equality or disability rights issue? And is this the type of issue that should be referred to the Disability Rights or Equality Commissioners?
Understanding the needs and the many difficulties encountered by people with mobility issues, who live independently is something I believe many councillors simply cannot understand, possibly because of a lack of contact and integration with the less fortunate members of their community.
The Disability and Community Issue Champion