New disabled parking spaces to be created

Reporter: Charlotte Green, Local Democracy Reporter
Date published: 12 January 2022

New disabled parking spaces have been approved in Oldham after some people were forced to wait almost three years for a spot.

Liberal Democrat councillors had previously raised the issue of residents in the borough waiting for disabled bays, claiming the authority had allocated no money to new bays since the 2018-19 financial year.

Councillor Howard Sykes, the Lib Dem group leader, had said that there was a backlog of 80 people waiting for an assessment to see if they were eligible for a parking space.

He added that some residents had had to wait “almost three years” for a space.

Disabled parking bays require the area designated as the bay to be painted onto the highway and then a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) to be issued.

Now 25 successful applications have been processed from the backlog after a limited number of bays were introduced in 2021.

The new bays will cost the authority £20,000 from its highways budget to create, with the annual maintenance costs standing at £2,400.

Officers are due to go through the remaining 82 applications in the new year to identify which other bays will be granted.

A council report says that the highways team receives around 70 application a year for on-street disabled parking places from residents who have difficulty parking close to their home.

“This can cause considerable stress and cause further physical suffering,” officers state.

“It is considered that the only effective way to help disabled residents is to provide on-street disabled persons parking places near to their property.

“This will enable these residents easier access to their properties and improve their mobility and quality of life.”

Department for Transport figures show 9,613 Blue Badges were held in Oldham in 2020.

People with learning disabilities, mental health conditions and other hidden impairments are now able to apply for a Blue Badge after the scheme was updated in August 2019.

The council website states that ‘due to limited financial resources it is only possible for applications to be considered annually should funding be available’.

Councillor Barbara Brownridge, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, had previously said the council receives a ‘large number of requests’ for disabled parking spaces.

And she said that during the first year of the pandemic officers dealing with the requests had been deployed on other duties.

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