DORSET Council wants to hear from resident blue badge holders to help shape a unified approach to parking charges across the county.
Following consultation with all drivers earlier this year on car park parking charges and a proposed new car park permit scheme for residents, businesses and workers, blue badge holders are now being asked for their views on the way forward for disabled parking charges in Dorset Council owned car parks.
This will not affect the eligibility criteria for the blue badge scheme, or the entitlement of blue badge holders as set out by central government.
At the moment, the car park offer to blue badge holders is different depending on where you live or park within the Dorset Council area and, through consultation with badge holders, the council wants to provide one scheme that is easy to understand and consistent.
Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for Highways, Transport and Environment, said: “We have around 25,000 residents who hold blue badges, which are a lifeline for people with mobility issues – enabling easier access to local shops and community facilities.
“As part of our parking transformation project, we want to introduce an offer for blue badge holders that is consistent, fair and meets users’ needs.
“If you hold a blue badge or are a carer for someone who has one, please take the time to participate in the consultation as this will be used to inform our future approach of how holders are charged in our council-run car parks.”
The Blue Badge Holders Parking Survey is now available, with responses to be received by Sunday, September 26.
Residents are being asked for their views on a number of options including:
- Free parking for higher exemption blue badge holders
- One extra hour’s free parking for blue badge holders when purchasing a pay and display ticket
- Free parking for up to three hours for all blue badge holders
The survey also seeks to identify and understand the issues of most importance to blue badge holders when using a council-owned car park, such as the size of the bays, the availability of disabled parking bays, the location of spaces in relation to local facilities and accessibility of pay and display machines.
Current blue badge holder car parking charges vary depending on previous district and borough council-run offers, currently:
Blue badge holders in East Dorset can apply for a Disabled Parking Exemption Permit if certain qualifying criteria is met. Alternatively, standard pay and display parking charges apply.
In West Dorset, blue badge holders who receive certain allowances can apply for a free parking permit which will allow three hours free parking in any car parking bay. Alternatively, standard pay and display parking charges apply, but one extra hour’s free parking is given on top of the tariff paid when displaying a blue badge.
In the Purbeck area, blue badge holders can park for free for up to three hours with the display of their badge and correctly set clock. However, standard pay and display parking charges apply in Corfe Castle and at Purbeck Park.
Standard pay and display parking charges currently apply to blue badge holders in North Dorset and in Weymouth and Portland, but one extra hour’s free parking is given on top of the tariff paid when displaying a blue badge.