U-turn for Blue Badge holders

Photo Emma Mitchell 02.08.16'Disabled Parking at william Patrick Library
Photo Emma Mitchell 02.08.16'Disabled Parking at william Patrick Library

East Dunbartonshire Council has now committed to scrapping charges for disabled motorists at town car parks after a barrage 
of complaints.

At a recent meeting of the council’s policy and resources committee, councillors agreed to the U-turn for all Blue Badge holders.

An exact date has still to be set but a council chief said this week the change was 
being “fast-tracked.”

The parking charges were introduced on July 4 at seven council-owned car parks.

But making disabled 
drivers pay to park has provoked an outcry.

One elderly disabled woman told the Herald she was forced to pay a £30 fine for parking in a disabled bay at William Patrick Library in Kirkintilloch within the first two hours, which are free.

Isabella Barclay, who can only walk a short distance on her own, said: “I was only gone for about 45 minutes. My hairdresser is close to the library.

“I didn’t know you had to get a ticket to park for free and I have a Blue Badge.

“I had heard about the parking charges but thought as I was in a disabled bay, I would be okay.”

She added: “It takes me all my time to walk a short distance in a straight line. Every step counts.”

A spokesperson for the charity Disabled Motoring UK said car parking systems similar to the one set up by East Dunbartonshire Council were “discriminatory to disabled drivers.”

Thomas Glen, Depute Chief Executive - Place, Neighbourhood & Corporate Assets, said: “Charging within selected car parks has increased the availability of short-stay parking spaces in our town centres - improving access to businesses and amenities.

“However, following monitoring of the new charges, elected members decided at a meeting of the Policy and Recources Committee that Blue Badge holders should be exempt from displaying a ticket or paying parking charges but only when a Blue Badge is prominently displayed.

“Officers are currently fast-tracking amendments to the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) to make the required changes for Blue Badge holders.

“We cannot set an exact date as timescales are dependent upon whether objections or representations from members of the public are maintained. However, the process is underway we hope it will be completed as soon as possible.”