Leiston: Teenager calls for improved access to pay and display machines for disabled users

A TEENAGER with cerebral palsy is calling on car park officials to improve access to pay and display machines for wheelchair users.

Tim Baskett, from Theberton, near Leiston, is a regular visitor to the town’s High Street car park.

Earlier this year Suffolk Coastal District Council decided to end free car parking for blue badge holders – although they get double the time paid for.

A spokesman for the authority said they had carried out a review of all their car parks before making the change and would be happy to meet with Mr Baskett on site to discuss his concerns.

Mr Baskett, 19, who attends Lowestoft College, said he had no problem with paying for his parking, but at the moment the pay-and display facility was too high to reach from his wheelchair.

“I don’t mind that I have to pay,” he said. “That’s fair enough. But people in a wheelchair can’t reach the ticket machine.

“It now feels like I can’t use the car park. It’s very difficult. I really think they should get it changed.

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“It needs to be lowered as soon as possible. There’s no way I would be able to pay if I was on my own.

“It’s not just me – I wouldn’t want other people with a disability to be in that situation either.”

Suffolk Coastal District Council introduced its disabled parking charges in April this year following a period of public consultation.

A spokesman said: “We did review all our car parks when we introduced charges for people with blue badges, which sees any blue badge holder get double the time when they buy a ticket. Our review identified a problem with the block paving in front of the High Street machine and we removed this to make it more accessible. We have not had any complaints since about this machine, but are happy to meet with Mr Baskett so he can show one of our team exactly what the problem is and we can work out how to resolve the problem.”

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