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Blue badge parkers lose appeals right

A LABOUR councillor is championing the cause of disabled drivers who are refused parking bays outside their homes.

A LABOUR councillor is championing the cause of disabled drivers who are refused parking bays outside their homes.

Councillor Tim O'Kane has hit out at a decision by Hyndburn Council's Cabinet to suspend an appeals procedure allowing blue badge holders to argue their case if applications are turned down.

Councillor O'Kane was shocked to hear the procedure, which he was instrumental in setting up in February, had been removed at a recent Cabinet meeting.

He said: "I'm disgusted. There are a number of people still waiting for their applications to go through.

"The previous approach was that if they were refused the reasons would be expla-ined to them and they could go to appeal."

Announcing the decision, council leader Councillor Peter Britcliffe told the meeting the matter would go to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for monitoring.

But Councillor O'Kane said: "Without the appeals process, if someone wanting a parking space has a neighbour who - for quite selfish reasons - doesn't want it, they can stop it by putting an objection in. It's just not fair."

Twenty-two new parking bays are set to appear in streets in Accrington, Clayton-le-Moors, Oswald-twistle and Great Harwood. The council has turned down a further 11 applications.

Illustrating the need for an appeals procedure, Councillor O'Kane cited the example of Gordon and Sandra Wingfield.
They applied last summer to get a disabled parking bay outside their home on Whalley Road, Clayton-le-Moors.

Initially, the council refused to install a bay for their Skoda Fabia car. But after they decided to buy a smaller Toyota Yaris and launched an appeal, they received permission.

Mrs Wingfield, 61, who has a back problem, and her husband, who has a heart condition, said: "When they refused the application I felt sick.

"I felt there was no justice and we were being discriminated against because we had a small terraced house."

Councillor Britcliffe said: "The decision was based on recommendations from officers, although we are still awaiting guidelines from the county council.

"The Scrutiny Committee will have the chance to look at the policy to decide whether it is fair. Councillor O'Kane doesn't need to be disgusted - he needs to be patient."


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