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Dismay as blue badge plan scrapped in Poole
9:18am Tuesday 12th February 2013 in Latest
Disappointment has greeted a decision by a Poole Council committee to kick out a proposal for a Blue Badge style parking permit for residents suffering temporary disability.
“I am dismayed at the council’s decision,” said Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, who raised the matter with Borough of Poole after fracturing a hip when tripping over a paving stone in London last March.
And Kathleen McDavid, chairman of Broadstone Stroke Club said: “I think it would be a good idea.”
But the council’s social services portfolio holder, Cllr Peter Adams, whose Conservative colleagues voted against it, said the cost and logistics made it impractical. “It sounds good but it’s too difficult,” he said.
The MP said: “Having twice been in the position of needing a temporary blue badge and the recipient of constituent requests I really wanted a change for other people.”
She said she was now able to walk a reasonable distance. “But it has been a nightmare for a few months as I carried on with my engagements. I didn’t want or need free car parking. I needed a wider car parking space so that I could get out of my car without pain whilst performing my duties.”
Annette added: “My need for a blue badge was very great indeed but just for a very short time.”
Mrs McDavid said she believed people who suffered strokes and were not seriously incapacitated could get badges for a short time on a GPs recommendation. “When my son lost part of his leg and was in a wheelchair it would have been good, just for six months.”
Borough of Poole provides free parking for blue badge holders in on-street pay and display car parks, and believes that with the number of fractures, operations and joint replacements the demand could be around 3,000 people a year.
Cllr Adams questioned how many parking spaces would be needed and said there would be a loss of revenue for the cash-strapped council as well as set-up and administration costs.
He said only one rural council offered a similar scheme. “Why hasn’t every other council done it if it’s such a good idea?” But he said they could look at it again in future.
Cllr Charles Meachin, chairman of the health and social care overview and scrutiny committee, said: “I am sad that a simple local scheme which would have helped some people recovering from acute surgery, will now mean they will continue to feel excluded from going out and about, which I believe would make for a quicker recovery.”