Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 13°C

Search

Halesworth: Transport group says disabled people will suffer after blue badge refusal

PUBLISHED: 09:14 11 March 2014 | UPDATED: 09:14 11 March 2014

Archant

A community group which provides vital transport services for disabled and elderly passengers says it is mystified after being refused a Blue Badge parking permit.

For several years Halesworth Area Community Transport (HACT) has been granted a badge to allow it to park in restricted areas usually reserved for people with disabilities or impaired mobility.

However, the group’s latest application for a permit has been refused on the grounds it no longer meets the correct criteria.

In a letter Suffolk County Council told the group: “Under the Government Blue Badge eligibility criteria that we are required to work within, the regulations state that an organisation will only be issued with a Blue Badge if they both care for and transport disabled people who would themselves be eligible for an individual Blue Badge.

“Unfortunately as your organisation only transports and does not care for disabled people, I regret I am unable to authorise a badge for you.”

Despite an appeal by HACT the decision has been upheld by the council.

The group, which runs the 511 bus service between Holton and Halesworth, says the decision will cause problems for many of its passengers who are unable to walk or travel long distances for medical appointments, shopping, to pay bills, attend community events or visit family and friends.

Julia Howell, HACT administrator, said: “Although our services are open to all members of the community a large percentage of our passengers are elderly or have disabilities. Hence, many of our passengers cannot walk or travel long distances.

“However, without a Blue Badge we are no longer able to park in designated areas meaning we may be forced to drop patients off further away from amenities, which could make life very difficult for them.

“Also, we will now be left having to search for available parking spaces, which is not easy with large vehicles. This could of course cause delays and could result in people missing important appointments.

“We cannot understand why after all these years we are now being refused a permit. It seems a very strange decision to prevent a service providing transport for people with disabilities from parking in spaces reserved for people with disabilities.

“It seems this is another case of red tape making it difficult for a voluntary organisation to provide a valuable service.”

A spokesman for the county council said: “There is another stage of the appeal process and we would welcome Halesworth Area Community Transport submitting to this process with further evidence that supports their application.

“In the meantime there is no reason at all why anyone who has their own personal blue badge cannot make use of it whilst using the mini bus service.”

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Police have named a 43-year-old man who died in a crash on the A140 at Mendlesham yesterday as Colin Fisk from Kesgrave.

A Suffolk footballer who lost both his legs in a horrific hit and run crash has fulfilled his ambition of walking down the aisle on his wedding day.

A woman in her 70s suffered injuries after an “unkempt” man is reported to have shouted and pushed her to the ground in a Suffolk high street.

Just weeks after the Ipswich Park and Ride service was relaunched with a new service run by First Eastern Counties, part of its site at Copdock Mill has been put up for sale.

The craftsman who created the thatched outdoor classroom at Christchurch which was destroyed in a fire on Monday says it was ‘gutting’ to see his work up in flames.

An Essex man who kicked and stamped on a man’s head during a late night attack has been jailed for six years.

Parents face paying “daunting” travel costs at a Suffolk secondary school after an academy trust “breached” an agreement to subsidise free transport for pupils in surrounding villages, it has been claimed.

Most read

Eating Out in the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Eating Out
supplement

View

Visit the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Visit the Broads
supplement

View

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24