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Provision of Disabled Parking Bays Under Review

October 31, 2011 12:30 PM

Disabled parking bays in Epsom Town Hall car parkA meeting of the borough council's Environment Committee decided, on the chairman's casting vote, not to convert any of the 20 disabled parking bays back for general use.

Lib Dem councillors have long campaigned on behalf of shoppers who have been squeezed out from this most central, short-stay car park in Epsom. A report presented to the Committee confirmed that 579 observations have been carried out in the past six months and at least six bays have been unused at the time of all but two of the surveys. Indeed, on 94 occasions there were only 3 disabled bays occupied and on 69 occasions only 2 bays were occupied! The current provision for disabled parking is 25% of the entire car park against a requirement from the Department of Transport to provide 6%.

The ruling RA group's idea was to convert 12 bays to "dual use", but that would only have meant that shoppers could park in them after 4pm and until 7am the next morning. The Lib Dems felt this did not address the problem and suggested the conversion of six bays to general use (which would free up 8 spaces for shoppers because disabled bays take up more space) and an additional six bays for dual use.

Councillors Pavey (Stamford) and Morris (College) have referred the subject upward to a meeting of the full council on 13th December where the final decision will be made.

Cllr Morris said "It was quite obvious from the beginning that the provision of disabled parking bays in this car park was a knee-jerk reaction from the ruling RA group after charges for disabled parking were introduced last year. We've insisted the topic be kept under review. Clearly they are reluctant to admit they made a mistake and we can only hope that common sense will prevail. With our suggestion there would still be plenty of space for disabled folk and more space for shoppers."

What do readers think? Email your comments to us at: FOCUS@epsom-ewell-libdems.org.uk