Carer blasts rogue Blue Badge holders
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Motorists who fraudulently claim Blue Badges to abuse its free parking privileges have come under fire from a carer – who argues that people with genuine disabilities are losing out.
Peter Whitelaw blasted drivers in Sidmouth, where he says he has seen some brazen badge-holders park their cars on double yellow lines and then cycle up Peak Hill or play a round of golf.
He claimed that ‘doctors hand out Blue Badges like confetti’ to the ‘middle classes’ who think they are ‘entitled’ to get away with it – and it is costing the taxpayer in lost parking revenue.
“They have no shame,” said the 60-year-old, who has looked after four disabled people over the past 14 years. “It’s denying people who really do have a need for disabled parking.
“A lot of people need help with their disability, but these people aren’t disabled at all.
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“It wouldn’t be so bad if they had some pretence about being disabled. It’s insulting to people with disabilities.”
Mr Whitelaw lives in Budleigh Salterton, but said the abuse is rife in Sidmouth, where his caring duties have been focused.
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He said some people were awarded a Blue Badge with a temporary ailment and then managed to claim one again without being reassessed.
Mr Whitelaw says he has often been denied the use of disabled parking bays by people fraudulently using Blue Badges. “Year on year, it’s got worse.
“Most of them are middle class. Those who can afford to pay for parking seem to be abusing the scheme the most. It’s like they are entitled.”
To qualify for the scheme, claimants must have a permanent or substantial disability that limits walking, severe upper limb disabilities or a mental disorder that means they are unable to follow a familiar route without the assistance of another person.
Parents of children with disabilities can also qualify.
Badgeholders can park in disabled bays or on yellow lines.
The scheme is administered by Devon County Council, where a spokesman said the most common forms of abuse of the scheme were parking in the wrong place or for too long where there was a time limit, use by a third party and use of an expired or amended badge.
“The majority of people entitled to use a Blue Badge do so responsibly, and with consideration of others,” he added.
“We are not aware of any particular problem with regard to their use in Sidmouth. However, civil enforcement officers are vigilant in identifying misuse and can issue fixed penalty notices to offenders.
“We take reports of Blue Badge misuse seriously and do investigate specific reports and act accordingly. We would ask anyone wishing to report Blue Badge misuse to contact us.”
To report Blue Badge misuse, call 0345 155 1007 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
It is helpful if the person is able to provide the first six digits of the badge number and the name of the badge holder.