Free disabled parking in Newcastle council car parks to end

Eldon Square car parkImage source, NCJ Media
Image caption,
Free parking for blue badge holders will end in car parks including Eldon Square and Eldon Gardens

Free parking for disabled drivers is to be scrapped in Newcastle council car parks.

Axing the scheme for blue badge holders was approved by the city council 18 months ago and it will end this year.

Charity Disability North called the decision "very disappointing" as it "creates a barrier" for people with mobility issues.

The council said it will add an extra hour for free to give people time to get back to their cars.

On-street parking will still be free to registered blue badge holders of which there are more than 10,000 in Newcastle, the council said.

Council transport officials believe the charges will "help balance the demand for disabled bays" in different locations while raising an extra £115,000 a year for the council along with other changes.

'Expensive to be disabled'

Disability North chief executive Victoria Armstrong said the move "makes the city centre more unfriendly to disabled people".

She said: "It is very disappointing that the council is continuing with this.

"No matter how local authorities try to make city centres accessible, they remain challenging for people with mobility issues - this just creates another barrier.

"In times of austerity, disabled people have suffered most. It is expensive to be a disabled person and this just adds another cost."

The council is also planning to increase the membership fee for the Shopmobility service providing battery-powered scooters and wheelchairs from £25 to £100 per year, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

A spokesperson for Newcastle City Council said: "We will shortly be formally advertising the legal car park order that includes these proposals and this will be followed by a period of 21 days in which people can raise any objections."

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