Readers have their say on controversial disabled parking charge plan in Wrexham

Reporter:

Jonathan Grieve

Controversial plans to introduce parking charges for blue badge holders have been met with mixed reaction.

Earlier this week, the Leader reported Wrexham Council approved plans to go out to consultation after suggesting to bring tariffs for disabled people in line with other charges at their car parks across the county.

Senior figures hope it would help raise about £25,000 a year but fears were raised it would push people to park on double yellow lines instead.

Readers flocked to the Leader’s Facebook page and reacted to the story.

Greg Ogden said: “Why would we as a society when making decisions on financial cuts target those that have already been hit the hardest?

“Equalities watchdog states disabled people have been amongst biggest financial losers since 2010 due to changes in tax and benefit reforms.

“Furthermore the households with the most serious disabilities (measured across a range of specific functional difficulties, including mobility and mental health) stand to lose the most.

“This is a contemptuous decision in my book. Consultation process being used to divide and conquer and people fall for it.

“Surprised at the opinions of some and more surprised by the silence of others.”

But Andy Parry disagreed. He said: “Before all the do-gooders jump on me. Why shouldn’t a charge be paid?

“I have nothing against anyone with a disability but I personally think all people should be charged a fee. If we start going down the route of no parking (charge) for the disabled then next it will be why shouldn’t parents be entitled to free parking and so on and so forth.

“By the way I’m also a parent before I get slammed for that too.”

Hannah Burge said: “My dad has a blue badge and he pays for his parking, he says just because he needs a bigger parking space why should he be any different.

“Just bugs me when they do abuse it and park on double yellows or in the town centre. I am sorry that you have a disability but don’t abuse the badge.”

Janet Glaspole said: “I think most if not all disabled people would very happily swap their so-called free car and blue badge for their health.

“They didn’t ask to be disabled – all I can say is shame on you for thinking it’s a privilege and shame on Wrexham councillors and council.”

Lex Mitsiaras said: “This charge will save a negligible amount.

“A pittance so small it would cost more to make the town more accessible for the disabled to conduct their business without having to park in multiple locations and thus incurring several charges that able bodied people wouldn’t.

“The only outcome for this is a further hardship on the disabled.

“It is not a benefit to be disabled. It is not some blue badge of honour or privilege. It is a little help for those who need it.”

Jack Owen said: “Speaking as a badge holder, yes it is nice to have free parking but it is more important to be assured that there is enough marked bays even if I have to be treated like others and have to pay a nominal parking fee.”

Sophie Lauren said: “I think they should be charged like everyone else.

“There’s a lot of disabled parking spaces everywhere these days, plus they can park on yellow lines for up to three hours with a badge displayed so why not pay.”

The measure is part of the authority’s proposed budget savings for 2018/19 and 2019/20, during which it needs to cut about £13 million.

But a statutory consultation is needed before the measures could be adopted.

The proposals were included in the authority’s difficult decisions consultation and council bosses say the responses received were largely supportive.

Plans are also afoot to introduce charging for elected members and council staff, though that would be considered an internal matter and therefore no wider consultation is needed to implement them.

Email:

jonathan.grieve@nwn.co.uk

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