MP Robert Halfon presents petition seeking crackdown on disabled parking bays

News / Sat 15th Oct 2022 at 06:28am

PRESSURE from MP Robert Harlow could prompt a local council to strengthen measures stopping able-bodied drivers parking in disabled bays, blue badges being stolen from cars and accessible toilets being used for storage.

Harlow Council endorsed a petition from Robert Halfon MP (Con) last night (October 13) which called for a number of measures to “transform” the lives of disabled people, including installing number plate recognising cameras in car parks reports the Local Democracy Reporter.

Mr Halfon said blocking disabled bays causes “misery” for people who really need them and called for more enforcement and fines for rule-breakers.

He said: “The revenue raised could fund other disability initiatives across the town, for example special parking permits for blue badge holders to avoid badges being stolen from vehicles in the night, which sadly often happens.”

He later said: “These are just simple measures that would transform the lives of disabled people.”

The petition, which was signed by 50 people, sets out a disability charter and put six suggested measures to the council. Mr Halfon, who has a rare form of Cerebral Palsy , said local charities and schools like Aspire Support Learn, Upwards with Downs and Harlow College, were supporting the charter and its initiatives.

These include an audit of disabled toilets in the town and for action to be taken if they are found to not be accessible, as well as a review of disabled bay allocation in council owned buildings like Harlow Playhouse and the Civic Centre.

Increased support for the blind community, such as making sure pavement furniture does not cause obstruction, was also called for.

It also asked the council to install automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras in council-owned car parks and write to all private landowners and businesses in the town asking them to enforce blue badge parking and ensure disabled toilets are not used for storage.

But the success of ANPR cameras was called into question by the opposition, because blue badges are issued to individuals rather than vehicles.

Councillor James Griggs (Labour, Netteswell) said: “Any attempt to improve the lives of people with needs relating to inclusion and accessibility is to be welcomed, but this petition in my view is a little disappointing in that I think it could and should go further.”

Council leader Russell Perrin (Con, Sumners and Kingsmoor) said the council would look at costing the measures during its next budget period.

He said: “Quite often we haven’t got this right in our country, we haven’t done enough. We’ve come a long way, certainly in my lifetime, but it’s not enough.”

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10 Comments for MP Robert Halfon presents petition seeking crackdown on disabled parking bays:

2022-10-15 07:27:19

I agree with Robert however how about clamping down on all the people holding illegal disabled badges! I am shocked how many people I see day in and day out that have clearly played the system to get a parking badge. I see so many parking bays being painted on roads in Harlow that clearly are not needed. Also can we not get the dam mobilty scooters on a register with insurance etc as there seems to be an awful lot of people using them around the town that dont need them! I know its all taboo to talk about these topics but they need addressing!

2022-10-15 08:06:52

Whilst access for holders of blue badges is important what such a tight clampdown forgets is the many people who have significant mobility problems that aren't visible, for instance the millions of those with arthritis waiting knee or hip surger, those who are elderly, frail, pregnant women and many more who don't have blue badges but still need good access. It's not a simple problem. It might help solve the problems if a proportion of disabled parking bays were time limited, for instance Tesco have many many disabled parking bays and frequently at certain times of the day like early morning and evenings only a very few are in use by blue badge holders so the people in the groups I have mentioned tend to use them or be forced to park at the greater distance from the store. If the excess bays had time sensitive access then it should not be difficult to have them reserved for blue badgers at peak times and available for all at off peak times. Stores might help by delivering goods locally and cheaply using small cargo bikes. There's many a more effective and cost effective ways of dealing with such problems rather than putting in expensive cameras and a whole bureaucracy of yet more police state controlled sticks, education, ways of helping people and smarter better solutions are needed.

2022-10-15 09:50:44

Tomcat Disregarding the people who use stolen badges, how do you know that people have "illegal" blue badges? Are you a disability must be visible tupe of person? Yiu can't just ask for a blue badge and you get it. It all goes through drs with regards to your medical conditions. It's not a case of *can I have a blue badge?" "sure here you go". And with mobility scooters. Anyone can own them. You don't need to have mobility issues. You pay the money it's yours. You seem to have the attitude that disabled people are an inconvenience to you.

View from Afar
2022-10-15 10:15:03

Some of the worst offenders I see using disabled bays are at Staple Tye. There’s no one around to check. It happens all the time. We had a friend who queried someone who parked in one and all she got was a torrent of abuse. Another time a man was parked in one eating and drinking what he bought in Dorringtons then as he drove off just dropped his rubbish on the car park.

Glynis Campbell
2022-10-15 10:59:45

When our parents were alive, we had disabled badges, which enabled us to park in spaces, which were wide enough to get them out of the car and into the wheelchair. There were many times that we could not get a disabled space, because able bodied people used them. We were going to Tesco one day, and a family of two parents and two teenagers took the last disabled space. I asked if they had a badge, and along with a lot of swearing, they said they didn’t, but they were going shopping. I spoke to the store, but they said there was nothing they could do. We need to ensure that these spaces are only for disabled people, who leave their badge clearly displayed. Unless you are disabled, or care for somebody that it, you do not realise how important this is. Keep up the good work

Colin Thorpe
2022-10-15 13:49:38

Whereas I applaud Roberts efforts for these particular groups of people let's not forget there are other disadvantaged groups within Harlow Let's make a concerted effort to help all these groups

2022-10-15 15:13:31

I wish Tesco's at church Langley would check for blue badges in car windows the amount of times i see people parking in disabled bays with no badges is not on . selfish people

Cassie Eve
2022-10-15 17:32:39

Although I agree that disabled spaces should be used only with a blue badge,there is another problem in residential streets with parking bays...we have 2 in our street, one issued to a lady who died 8 years ago and another to a gentleman who moved 4 years ago! With limited parking spaces already the council need to make sure that they remove them as well when not needed.

2022-10-15 20:28:32

My arguments are there are 5 disabled bays in one car park in willowfield, yet no drop kerbs unless you push a wheelchair all the way out of the car park and then have to push it all the way back up on the pavement to the alley way. Also Lister House has disabled bays which is great but again unless you push the wheelchair out into the road bit, you can't access the pavement or crossing. Please can places think about access for wheelchairs

Blue Peter Badge
2022-10-17 08:32:43

Blue badges should be given out to people people with physical disabilities. How does having depression, being overweight or being an alcoholic, mean you need a blue badge. I know that bottles of gin and crates of beer are heavy but you can get trolleys. The blue badge system is abused by so many people it really is not fit for purpose. So many people have them simply because they are lazy. Many get their parents to get them and think it gives them the right to use them even when they are sitting in a care home 50 miles away. It the same as everything else in this failing country un policed, abused and pillaged by lazy people who think they have the right to have everything. The shameful thing is the people the scheme was set up to help can not find the spaces they need.

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