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Consultation on disabled bays outside homes in Blackburn with Darwen

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Published by Laura Pratt at 4:04pm 27th November 2018 (Updated 4:11pm 27th November 2018)

Spiralling costs could lead to changes to disabled parking bays outside peoples’ homes in Blackburn with Darwen.

By Local Democracy Reporter Jonathan Grieve

The council has launched a six-week consultation as it looks to come up with a new policy for the scheme, which has seen more than 1,000 new disabled parking bays created since 2000.

Council bosses say the cost of the scheme, which is rising, is unaffordable.

And people will be asked whether the council should charge people who apply to have disabled bays installed outside their homes.

Executive member for regeneration, Cllr Phil Riley, said the total cost of processing applications, obtaining the relevant documents, carrying out an on-site visit, consulting with neighbours, installing the pole and sign and marking out the bay on the public highway is £1,128 per bay.

There is currently no charge for providing the bays and therefore none of these costs are being recouped.

Cllr Riley added:

“The current policy regarding disabled parking bays in residential areas across Blackburn and Darwen was introduced in 2000, since then, the number of applications for a residential disabled parking bay has increased significantly.

“There are considerable, and increasing, costs and resources spent on the provision of residential disabled parking bays including; the cost of administering the scheme and obtaining the relevant documents from applicants; carrying out on-site inspections to assess the best location for the bay; consulting with neighbours and installing the residential disabled parking bay.

“The increase in residential disabled parking bays has an adverse impact on residents who live on the same street where multiple bays are present as these bays may take up the majority of the available parking space on the street.

“This is also causing traffic congestion in some areas of the borough where there are multiple bays within a short span of the public highway.

“It is proposed to undertake a robust six week public consultation on the council’s current policy for residential disabled parking bays, to inform the options available regarding the future provision of residential disabled parking bays.

“The results of the consultation process along with any proposed amendments to the current policy will be presented to a future executive board meeting.”

disabled badge 1

It is expected the cost of running the consultation will hit the growth and development department’s revenue budget to the tune of about £4,000.

Blackburn with Darwen Council has provided the bays since it became a unitary authority in 1998 and took responsibility for the administration of the public roads.

The current policy was adopted in 2000, since when the council has received 2,003 applications, 1,007 of which have been approved.

Prior to 2010, the bays were supported by a Traffic Regulation Order to regulate use by non-blue badge holders and comply with the legislation.

But now the bays have been approved as advisory and are not enforceable.

Therefore the success of the bay relies on the support of the applicant’s neighbours to ensure the bay is kept available for the applicant.

Cllr Riley added:

“The consultation will focus on the current policy for residential disabled parking bays, identifying issues related to this such as fairness, costs and parking congestion and the impact on traffic flow.

“This is a consultation to inform debate and discussion, firm proposals for a change to the policy have not been drawn up.”

Questionnaires will be sent out directly to households recorded as having a disabled parking bay, while blue badge holders in the borough will also be sent a copy.

They will also be sent directly to all addresses on specific streets in the borough where there are disabled parking bays nearby.

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