Clampdown on Blackpool drivers who park in disabled bays

Disabled parking space
Disabled parking space
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A clampdown on shameless motorists who hog disabled parking spaces will see more traffic wardens on the streets of Blackpool.

Council chiefs today revealed the tough new measure in the resort as it emerged almost 1,000 people were fined for parking in disabled bays in the last 12 months.

Campaigner Stephen Brookes

Campaigner Stephen Brookes

More than half of the fixed penalty notices issued were for misusing on-street parking spaces.

Disability campaigner Stephen Brookes said: “People think it’s their right to park there, but what about the rights of those who really need them?”

Some 928 fixed penalty notices were handed out from August 2015 and the end of July last year - an average of more than two a day.

Most were handed out for parking in the wrong on-street bays, though 353 tickets were issued in off-street spaces too.

Mr Brookes blasted those responsible and said: “I would love to see their cars taken away and crushed.

“They are being inconsiderate to the rest of society. Sadly, we live in a greedy world.”

Blackpool Council, which released the figures under freedom of information laws, has now revealed plans to increase its team of traffic wardens from 16 to 20.

It said 7,820 disabled permits - or ‘Blue Badges’ - are currently issued across the town.

And Mr Brookes, who lives in Bispham and is an ambassador for Disability Rights UK, said holders are left to suffer when somebody takes a space.

“For some people, depending on where the alternative is, it can be devastating,” he said.

“The distance might mean they are unable to access a building.

“The reasonable message to get out there is that, in a real world, courtesy would be given to the people who really need them.

“People think it’s their right to park there, but what about the rights of those who really need them?”

Although Mr Brookes said there is a ‘total misuse’ of the scheme, through people borrowing a friend or relatives’ badge, the town hall said just 27 warning letters have been sent out since 2015, while no badges have been revoked.

Coun Mark Smith, responsible for parking, said: “It is important that people who have sight impairments or have mobility issues can park in designated disabled bays to give them easier access to public facilities.

“Misuse of the bays by non-Blue Badge holders will not be tolerated and an appropriate penalty will be incurred by those who park illegally.

“If anyone sees someone misusing a bay they can report it on the Blue Badge page on Blackpool Council’s website.”

The Blue Badge scheme was introduced in 1970, although they were originally orange.

They are issued when certain criteria is met, most of which are associated with certain disability benefits.

A local authority can also make concessionary issues of badges to people with permanent disabilities which do not meet the criteria but serious impairs the mobility.

The aim is to help those who need easier access park closer to their destination and, with 362,294, the north west has more issued than any other region in the UK.