Reading disabled parking scheme widened
November 14, 2012
Reading council bosses have agreed to provide additional flexibility to the Blue Badge disabled parking scheme.
The local adjustment to the national scheme should ensure people “who suffer from cognitive, intellectual and mental health impairments and struggle to make journeys that non-disabled people take for granted” continue to receive a Blue Badge.
The Blue Badge scheme has been in operation since 1971 and in 2009 was reviewed by the Government to try to weed out abuses of the scheme.
The Blue Badge Improvement Service came into being in January with a national database and a new “smart” badge using up-to-date security features.
Reading Borough Council is keen to make sure all “vulnerable citizens” that would benefit from a Blue Badge should receive one and acknowledges there are more people who need badges than just those with physical disabilities.
A report to the cabinet on Monday last week said: “Many people suffering from cognitive, intellectual and mental health impairments struggle to make journeys that non-disabled people take for granted.
“Indeed, the shock and distress caused to people suffering from such impairments on undertaking journeys can be extreme, putting their own health and safety and that of their carers and the public in jeopardy.
“In giving them access to the Blue Badge scheme, such risks can be minimised and give a place of safety within easy reach when required.”
The Reading Post recently featured the story of a mum Carolyn Fox of Bran Close, Tilehurst, who had been refused a Blue Badge even though her 18-year-old 6ft 4in tall son Ryan who suffers from autism was inclined to go into “meltdown” when out in the town centre.
She said she needed a car close by to calm him down as quickly as possible, but she was turned down by the council in August because Ryan can walk.
The cabinet agreed to authorise council officers to allow people with cognitive, intellectual and mental health impairment to continue to receive Blue Badges “on a case by case basis”.
They also agreed to set up an office in Whitley where badges can be collected more easily as there was no disabled parking close to the Civic Centre.