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Wigan council introduces parking charges for disabled badge holders in Leigh
10:40am Monday 11th March 2013 in News
DISABLED badge holders in Wigan borough will have to pay to use some council car parks from today, Monday.
Changes to charges mean blue badge holders will have to buy a ticket at Wigan Council’s pay and display car parks.
But following discussions with disabled groups in the area, they will be given an extra two hours free on top of the time they pay for.
Joe Healen, secretary of Wigan Access Committee, said: “We were consulted by the council at an early stage and are satisfied with the outcome in regard to pay and display car parks.
“Our principle on paying for parking is that disabled people should not be at a disadvantage because of their disability.
“It can take disabled people a considerably longer time to reach their destination from a car park. Many disabled people also need to assemble mobility aids, such as scooters and wheelchairs, which can also take some time.”
The car parks involved in Leigh are Spinning Gate, Church Street, Lord Street, Town Hall, Railway Arches and Doctors Nook. There are no concessions at car parks that charge for all day parking.
Kevin Hargreaves, traffic manager for Wigan Council, said: “We are seeking to make all our parking charges fair and consistent.
“Before this decision was taken, a full consultation process was carried out. This involved the Wigan Access Committee for the disabled at a very early planning stage.
“They have approved what we are doing. The changes bring us in line with most neighbouring councils, local hospitals and private car park operators who also ask blue badge holders to pay a fee to park.
“Disabled drivers will still be able to park in bays that are conveniently located and offer plenty of access room.
"As a concession, we have agreed to give two hours free parking to badge holders who buy a ticket in recognition of the mobility issues they face.”
Do you agree with the changes for disabled badge users? Have your say below.