Row over new parking restriction

DISABLED motorists are to be restricted to an hour's free parking at meters in Ipswich in an attempt to increase the number of short-stay spaces for all drivers during the day.

DISABLED motorists are to be restricted to an hour's free parking at meters in Ipswich in an attempt to increase the number of short-stay spaces for all drivers during the day.

Blue badge holders are able to use the parking bays for three hours free of charge, but the borough council says there is plenty of other provision within the town centre which they could use.

If drivers with mobility problems want to park for more than an hour at the meter bays, they will have to pay the standard fee.

The decision has caused concern to organisations representing elderly and disabled people.


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Daphne Savage, of Age Concern, said: “Older people, who may have a combination of disabilities and age-related mobility problems, do need to have as many options for parking as possible and for a significant time, because their disability often means that they need longer to get around the town centre and may need frequent stops for a rest.

“I would hate to think that people with disabilities were to be impeded in doing what the rest of us take for granted - easy access to and around Ipswich town centre.”

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Colin Poole, chief executive of disabled charity Optua, said the council had failed to consult over the proposals. “Disabled people need to be able to park near shops and must have the time to get to and from the town centre.”

However, Paul West, borough transport spokesman, defended the changes saying: “There is good provision right across the town centre for disabled people. They will still be able to park free for an hour at the meters but will have to pay for longer periods.”

Parking meters are to be introduced in Smart Street and Shire Hall Yard, off Foundation Street, to replace the existing two-hour limited free parking. It will cost drivers 80p to park for up to 30 minutes, �1.50 for an hour, and �2.80 for two hours.

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