Changes in disabled parking laws slammed by councillors

COUNCILLORS on the Kincardine and Mearns area committee this week slammed legislation passed by the Scottish Government which dramatically changes the way disabled parking spaces are government.

Under the provisions of the Disabled Persons’ Parking Places (Scotland) Act 2009, spaces which were previously allocated to individuals on an advisory basis will become available for any blue badge holder to use but on a regulatory basis.

One councillor branded the changes “ludicrous”, with members stating the opinion that it will cause more problems for the people it is meant to assist.

A report before councillors stated: “Under the provisions of this Act, the council is required to identify all advisory disabled street parking places. If a space is one from which there is convenient access to the address of a person who holds a disabled persons’ badge, then the Council must start the statutory procedure for making a disabled street parking order in respect of the parking place.”

It continues: “Once a parking place is subject to a disabled street parking order and marked accordingly, it will become available for any disabled blue badge holder to use.”

Members were forced to approve the implementation of the Kincardine and Mearns Area

Disabled Street Parking Order, as part of Aberdeenshire Council’s obligations under the 2009 Act.

Several objections from local residents to the scheme were put before councillors.

One woman, who lives in the harbour area of Stonehaven, wrote: “Since the allocated space has been at my door it has caused nothing but unnecessary worry and I wish I had never applied for it.

“With staying down at the harbour area with four restaurants, two pubs and numerous Bed and Breakfast establishments on my doorstep I get people parking their cars on my allocated space on a daily basis.

“It has come to the stage that I’m being forced to stay in my house as if I go out, on my return someone with a blue badge will be in my allocated space. I was under the impression that a disabled parking space was meant to assist the person with the disability but under the new ruling it is not assisting them at all.”

Another objector wrote: “My mother is blind and it is very difficult to get here out of a car into the house, even if it is from her parking space. It will be awful if someone was in the space when we returned from a trip.”

A Stonehaven man, who stays on David Street, wrote: “I have heart, lung and leg problems and am a user of a wheelchair and crutches. This will cause me a lot of distress and danger transferring from car to house as I will have to double park on the main street and be assisted into my home. This is the main street and is very busy due to the supermarket customers parking here.”

Stonehaven and Lower Deeside councillor Graeme Clark said: “It is ludicrous, absolutely ludicrous.”

North Kincardine councillor Ian Mollison added: “This is costing councils across the country a lot of money. We’ve got no choice.”

Mearns representative George Carr said: “I think we all agree there is something wrong with this. I just wonder if there are any options through our MSPs to put forward our concerns about how this is working out in practice.

“I do not think it is serving the citizens it was originally designed to protect.”

Stonehaven councillor Peter Bellarby asked: “What on earth are they trying to achieve by this legislation, does anyone know? I think it is a stupid law and it should have been better thought out.”

Despite the level of feeling among councillors it was agreed that no action should be taken until the order had been monitored by the council for a period of time.