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Blue badge parking plans are ‘nonsense’ says Wiltshire councillor

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MAKING blue badge holders pay for parking tickets is ‘morally wrong’ a Wiltshire councillor has said.

Liberal Democrat councillor, Ruth Hopkins, said the rules put disabled people under strain and that new plans to give blue badge holders an extra hour of free parking to give more time to buy tickets are ‘nonsense’.

Cllr Hopkins said: “The whole thing is morally wrong. The problem is making disabled people get the ticket. They have to get out of their car, cope with whatever disability, then get to the parking meter.

“The meters are at standing height, so people in wheelchairs can’t necessarily reach them. Having manoeuvred your way around that, you then have to go back to your car to put your ticket in.

“It adds a level of difficulty which an able-bodied person doesn’t have to think about. A lot of people who find this too onerous end up parking on double yellow lines as they are allowed to with their blue badges. This irritates able bodied people as much as it does disabled people. The whole purpose of this exercise was to raise £40,000. Because people go for the double yellow option, the likelihood of raising that is moot.”

She added, “This whole grace hour is a nonsense. They’ve acknowledged there’s a problem for disabled people, but still making them go through the rigmarole of getting a ticket. It’s a slight improvement on something that shouldn’t have been there in the first place.”

Wiltshire Council cabinet member for transport, Caroline Thomas said, “Increasing or introducing parking charges is always a difficult decision, but we had not reviewed parking charges in four years.

“We agreed the introduction of parking charges for blue badge holders following careful consideration of comments received through a statutory consultation exercise.

“The changes were advertised extensively, and the number of responses received demonstrates this. All comments were fully considered, and a decision made on that basis.

“The parking app MiPermit is available in all our car parks and a key benefit of this is that it allows payment for parking from any location and users can extend stays without having to go back to their car or car park. However, all our parking machines also accept cash.

“A programme to replace all payment machines across the county will commence shortly.

“The new machines will be DDA compliant and located in compliance with the required guidelines.”

Pictured: Cllr Ruth Hopkinson.

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