Disability Action wyre Forest is very pleased by the decision reached by Wyre Forest District Council not to charge Blue Badge holders in their car parks.

One of the recommendations from the Strategic Review Committee that was endorsed at November Council and approved at Full Council in February in the Financial Strategy, was is in relation to car parking charges and more specifically disabled blue badges, with a view to exploring the possibility of charging for them to generate more income.

The Cabinet Member has requested that the necessary due diligence be undertaken with Operational Managers in respect of this matter.  It was clearly stated in the recommendation that any risks associated with the impact of the proposal on the most vulnerable residents in the District would be addressed. To this end discussions took place with Disability Action Wyre Forest and visits were made to every car park in the District to assess accessibility.

It is estimated that the capital costs required to implement this policy would outweigh the potential revenue income well past the medium financial term.

Further, we have an estimated number of circa 5,000 blue badge holders within the District, but it is difficult to obtain specific details on exactly which benefits those particular holders are on.  Given that we would not be charging those users on certain benefits or those with mobility vehicles, or potentially a reduced rate for old age pensioners, the scheme already starts to become complicated, and possible income generation reduced. It is also difficult to predict with any certainty behaviour change.

Therefore,  having carried out the due diligence into this recommendation it has been concluded that charging Blue Badge holders will not be progressed.

The income generation associated with the recommendation will be addressed through the modernisation and rationalisation of less efficient pay and display machines and more targeted patrolling.