‘Give us dignity’, say the disabled

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MEMBERS of Boston’s disabled community have once again appealed for Boston Borough Council to see sense over imposing parking charges for blue badge holders.

Members of Boston Disability Forum and their supporters gathered for a second silent protest prior to last week’s meeting of the full council, before making an impassioned plea for the authority to rethink its decision to offer disabled motorists just half an hour more to do their shopping in town than able-bodied people, for the same parking fee.

But their case fell on deaf ears, as town centre portfolio holder Coun Derek Richmond said the decision would stay in force for one year, after which it would be reviewed.

At the meeting, forum member Becky Wood said: “How can you say the decision is in relation to equality when being disabled does not make us equal to able-bodied people?

“We just want to go about oour business in a dignified manner. We want our council to treat us with compassion, respect and dignity.”

Coun Richmond told the meeting that changes, which came into force on July 16, had been made with consideration of the Equality Act.

The councillor added: “This was thought reasonable by the LAPD (Lincolnshire Association of Disabled People) and it is considered reasonable by us.”

But Mrs Wood said LAPD had been consulted retrospectively, and a comment from Pilgrim Hospital’s senior physiotherapist Simba Shahwe, who was contacted by the disability forum, stated: “I do not honestly think an extra 30 minutes for parking is sufficient time for most blue badge holders to have an equal opportunity to shop.”

Forum member Joe Nash said: “I really can’t understand how they will not change that ridiculous 30 minutes extra.”