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Calls for unified approach to Blue Badge parking

Disabled parking

6:01am 10th September 2017

There are growing calls for a consistent approach to whether or not Blue Badge holders have to pay for car parking.

It is after Waverley Council approved plans to introduce charges and the Royal Surrey Hospital is doing the same.

The South West Surrey Disabled Alliance Network is against both moves and wants national guidelines to be produced.

David Beaman from the group says there's the risk of confusion as different authorities take different approaches: "Local government authorities have to make cuts and economies, we understand that and we understand the need to make savings and more money.

Blue Badge holders try using ticket machines at Godalming Crown Court

"That is fine but what we are seeing each local authority that chooses to charge Blue Badge holders is doing it differently.

"That is going to lead to utter confusion.

"If you are going to have charges, let's at least have a national standard so everyone knows where they are and what they're doing."

In announcing its decision, Waverley Borough Council councillor Jim Edwards said: "We felt charging Blue Badge holders to park in our car parks, who can afford it, was the fairest thing to do in light of the financial difficulties facing the council.

Blue Badge holders try using ticket machines at Godalming Crown Court

"Free car parking will continue to be available for those Blue Badge holders who receive income support and for those with severe disabilities. They will qualify for a free permit.

"In light of the feedback from the consultation we have extended the criteria of the permit to include more benefits, such as the lower and higher rate of Attendance Allowance and any other income-related benefit, in addition to the higher rate of Personal Independence Payment and the higher rate of Disability Living Allowance."

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