Blue badge holders parking decision in Carmarthenshire

Blue badge parking card The council issued 6,000 blue badges in Carmarthenshire last year

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Controversial plans to charge blue badge holders for car parking in Carmarthenshire will be voted on later.

If passed by the local authority, disabled drivers will have to pay the same as other motorists for using council-run car parks from January.

Officers say it is only fair everyone pays with the policy change expected to raise over £100,000 in three years.

Badge holders can currently park in any council-run car park in the county for up to three hours for free.

A disabled access group said it should have been consulted and badge holders have condemned the move.

Start Quote

This is just an additional tax on disability”

End Quote Mike Thomas Llanelli Disabled Access Group

A proposal before the council's executive board later recommends the "equalisation" of parking charges from 1 January.

The council says some authorities in Wales already charge blue badge holders while others are considering similar plans.

Last week Carmarthenshire's head of transport Trevor Sage said: "Like all authorities in Wales the council is facing severe financial pressures and income from car parking charges will also help to protect other key services over the coming years."

Mike Thomas, treasurer of the Llanelli Disabled Access Group, said he was angry its members had not been consulted.

"Hard won"

"It's been a hard won concession over the years," he added.

"It's not an option for many disabled people to use public transport or to just pop into town for 20 minutes.

"This is just an additional tax on disability."

Community councillor Robin Burn, who has a badge to drive his 19-year-old autistic daughter, has written to every member of the executive board urging them to turn down the plan.

"I consider such a move to impose such charges as detrimental , ill considered, and not in the best interests of the most vulnerable disabled individuals."

Plaid politicians have condemned the proposal.

The party's leader on the county council, Peter Hughes Griffiths, said: "Financial constraints are inevitable in the current economic climate but attacking the services on offer to disabled drivers is surely something that should be avoided."

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