A Council has been criticised over their decision to continue charging disabled badge holders in pay and display car parks.
Denbighshire County Council’s Communitees Scrutiny Committee discussed a report which considered scrapping car park charges for disabled badge holders before recommending charges remained in place.
The report stated: “It is a reasonable assumption that if parking were to be made free for all Blue Badge holders that this would generate a significant rise in applications for Blue Badges, which would result in more refusals, more appeals etc. There would therefore be a significant increase in workload for Community Support Services staff and a reduction in car park income.
“There is an inherent assumption being made that Blue Badge holders are less able to pay when this is not necessarily the case. If such a concession was granted, it could reasonably lead to the question of whether free parking should also be provided for those who find themselves less able to pay for other reasons eg the unemployed, individuals on certain benefits, pensioners etc.”
It continued: “The purpose of the Blue Badge is to improve ease of access for badge holders through the various concessions that exist to allow Blue Badge holders to park at kerbside locations such as on yellow lines for up to 3 hours. Its purpose is not to provide free parking.”
Councillor for Henllan and Upper Denbigh, Glenn Swingler argued that those with mobility issues should be given longer in car parks for no extra charge.
Cllr Swingler said, “As things stand the same parking fees apply to both abled and disabled people. However Blue Badge holders have mobility issues, and therefore it takes them longer to go from the car parks to the shops, or wherever they might need to go. Consequently as things stand in Denbighshire they have to pay much more in order to ensure that they have enough time. This is discrimination, pure and simple.
“The Equalities Act 2010 makes clear that public bodies must provide ‘reasonable adjustment’ for blue badge holders. The current policy doesn’t give that reasonable adjustment, and I’m afraid that we could therefore be in breach of the Equalities Act.”
“By giving an extra hour or so on top of the parking ticket then this could be deemed as ‘reasonable adjustment’, and I would be happy to support such a change in policy.”