Can you get the blue badge you need?
The council want to know how it can make blue badges more accessible to those who need them.
At full council today, it was agreed that local people and organisations will be asked about the issues they face applying for blue badges.
A motion proposed by Labour group leader Cllr Lesley Williams and seconded by Cllr Tracy Millard stated:
“The council recognises that regulations over who can and cannot get a blue badge are getting stricter. As a council we believe everyone who needs a blue badge should be able to get one.
“The council commits to review its blue badge policy criteria and will invite relevant community groups and interested partners to an open consultation over how we can make the service more accessible.
The council asks that a report is produced with options on how to achieve this by the end of 2017 which is in turn given to council to discuss.”
Blue badges are available under a national scheme with guidelines set by the government. The badges are designed to help registered severely visually impaired people and those who are unable or virtually unable to walk to be independent. Being able to park close to the facilities and services is vital to wellbeing and freedom of choice.
Many people are automatically entitled to a blue badge, whilst others will need an assessment.
Cllr Lesley Williams, leader of the Labour group, said: “I am relieved to see that Council is taking action over this. For too long resident’s concerns have been muted on this important issue. Through this thorough and open engagement it is my hope that we can create a full and open system that means that residents who need help can get it. I was proud to lead the way on this matter.”
Cllr Mark Hawthorne, leader of the council (Con), said: “Blue badges are an important way of helping people stay independent. It is a national scheme, with criteria set by government that the council follows. However by listening to the issues local people face when applying for a blue badge, we have the opportunity to see if there is any way we can make it easier.”
Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, leader of the liberal democrat group, said: “I know from speaking to the many elderly constituents who I represent that they want a simple and open process for applying for Blue Badges. We need to make sure that anyone who needs a Blue Badge is able to get one easily and without hassle. Anything this Council can do to achieve that will be good news."