Council answers criticisms over disabled parking

Winchester City Council has answered criticisms that it is driving disabled drivers out of the city by restating its message that policy towards disabled drivers and parking availability has not changed apart from charging them to use car parks that were converted to pay-on-foot earlier this year.

To give the disabled an opportunity to air their views, the Council has arranged a meeting with the Winchester Group for Disabled People and representatives of the National Blue Badge network for 15 December, at which they will discuss issues surrounding parking for the disabled in Winchester.

"We have 40 designated parking bays for the disabled in our car parks, plus facilities at the new park and ride," said Cllr John Beveridge, Cabinet portfolio holder for transport and access.

"Although we can no longer offer free parking for the disabled in our pay-on-foot car parks, disabled drivers can park in any of our other car parks free. They are also able to park on yellow lines where they do not cause an obstruction, and may park up to three hours free in any residents bay and in any pay-and-display bay on-street," he added.

Cllr Beveridge said that as far as pay-on-foot is concerned, Winchester was no different from other towns and cities that charge the disabled to park in barrier-controlled car parks. In Winchester the first barrier-controlled car park was introduced in Colebrook Street in 1997.

"We are carrying out a review of the number of disabled bays that are available in the centre, and checking if the width of the bays is satisfactory. We welcome all disabled drivers to Winchester and are keen to hear of any areas where disabled users think we can do better," he said.

Anyone who would like to make representations on facilities for disabled drivers before the meeting on 15 December is asked to contact Arthur Croad of the Winchester Group for Disabled People on 01962 851978.