Plymouth Moor View MP, Johnny Mercer, has written to Plymouth City Council calling on them to expedite a review into Disabled Parking Bay allocation, making it easier for Carers to park with those they are caring for.
On National Carers Rights Day (Friday 25th November), Johnny highlighted the difficulty some constituents can face in applying for a parking bay close to their home based on the current eligibility criteria.
Constituency correspondence has shown a key issue with the current policy is that applicants have to be both the Blue Badge holder and the driver of the vehicle concerned. Clearly, this prevents some disabled or vulnerable people from applying for a parking bay for their Carer to use if they are not able to drive due to ill health or age. Equally, when the person they are caring for suffers from conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease or Dementia, or is on the Autistic Disorder Spectrum, they find it harder to qualify for a Blue Badge, and therefore a Disabled Parking Bay.
Earlier this year, Plymouth became the first Council in the country to introduce Dementia Friendly Parking Spaces in the city, an initiative Mr Mercer has praised for its pioneering nature. In his letter to Plymouth City Council, he has called on the Council to continue this pioneering spirit by looking at ways of supporting the Carers of those who cannot drive themselves, those who are very vulnerable when it comes to leaving a vehicle, crossing the road or walking from the vehicle to home, and those who do not qualify for a Blue Badge.
Mr Mercer has called on the Council to initiate a policy review and to consider ways to enable Carers to park closer to the home of those they care for, or indeed, to park more easily in the Council car parks across the city. Solutions could range from changing the eligibility criteria for a Disabled Parking Bay and removing the requirement for the applicant to be the driver, to a more radical approach, consulting on and developing a ‘Carers Badge’ parking system with this badge becoming an eligibility criterion for a parking bay. This would see Plymouth continue to go above and beyond in how it cares for some of the most vulnerable people in the city.
‘As a local MP, I often hear from some of the most vulnerable individuals in our city or from those who care for them. Being able to park easily with a loved one who is disabled or vulnerable if left alone is a great concern to many. I believe it is the role of the leaders in Plymouth to look at how we can best support those who need practical assistance.
‘Whilst I recognise the limitations of the Blue Badge system, which is rightly regulated to ensure it is not abused, there are others who are equally vulnerable but do not qualify for this scheme. Plymouth faces a brilliant opportunity to think outside the box in how we look after Carers and those they care for who for a variety of reasons do not qualify for a Blue Badge.
‘Let’s build on the historic pioneering spirit in our city and the forward thinking provision of Dementia Friendly Parking Spaces and develop a system for Carers which sets a national precedent.’
Notes to Editor:
At present, to apply for a parking bay outside your home, you need to fulfil the following criteria:
- Have a valid Blue Badge
- Be the driver of the vehicle
- There are no alternative off-street parking facilities – don’t have a garage, driveway or hard-standing
- Experiences frequent difficulty in parking close to their home, defined as an inability to walk 20M or less (in line with the enhanced rate for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Mobility Component formerly Disability Living Allowance Higher Rate Mobility Component).