Parking Standards for Blue Badge holders

STAND was asked to advise the Council on new parking standards.

Our Report Below

Re the new standards for parking.

People with disabilities need to park as close as possible to where they need to visit in order to gain access to goods and service. A right enshrined  in the 2010 Equality Act. EA

In order to qualify for a blue badge the person should not be able to walk more than 50 metres without considerable pain and or distress so the location of bays need to mindful  of this fact.

The following recommendations are based on:

The percentage of people with blue badges in Stoke-on-Trent

Just under 4% (2019 population figures)

The rise in numbers of blue badges due to the change of criteria in Aug 2019 (Hidden       disabilities)

There were 240 extra people who received a badge under the new criteria from 30th Aug 2019    (2019/2020) so for a full year without coronavirus, is likely to be much higher.

Dept of Transport Recommendations April 1995 ie before the change in criteria

British Parking Association Recommendations for bay size 2016, again pre new criteria.

Effects of long covid increasing the number of disabled people.

Demographics in Stoke point to an increasing number of older people which in turn will mean       more disabled bays will be needed.

 

Commercial Developments

An employer, tenant or service provider is subject to certain obligations under the Equality Act to ensure people with disabilities can access the premises and the services provided.

The number of Blue badge bays will often depend on the use of the development and the size of the car park. British Standard Institute BSI (pre criteria change) says there should be one bay for each disabled worker plus 5% for a car park with up to 200 bays. We would suggest that as a minimum this should now be BSI  plus 10% but would need to be considerably higher than this in developments which rely on visiting clients, eg. supermarkets, DIY stores, supported living developments. In some cases 100% of the parking would need to be blue badge bays eg. Smithfield, in order to comply with the Equality Act.

The size of the car park will make a difference to the percentage of disabled bays, for example in a very small car park with less than 50 spaces, we suggest at least BSI plus 4 disabled bays.

50 – 200 BSI plus 10% of total spaces

Over 200, 15% of total spaces.

Over 500, 10% of total spaces.

 

 

Business Use

BSI standards plus 10%

 

 

City Council off Road Car Parks

We suggest a minimum of 10% but will be dependent on location and likelihood of use. eg a car park on a hill would be unlikely to be used by many people with physical disabilities, but may be used by people with hidden disabilities. A car park in the town centre (eg near the Regent Theatre) may be used much more. Many towns and cities have car parks in the centre of town with 100% of bays for blue badge parking, which is a very important consideration when areas are pedestrianised if the rights of access are to be preserved. People with disabilities have a legal right to be able to access goods and services. Any change in policy needs to have an Equality Impact Assessment EIA to find out how the change would affect people with “protected characteristics” EA so that the Council can make “Reasonable adjustments” EA to ensure the rights of access are retained

 

 

Multi Storey Residential

There needs to be a dedicated disabled bay with a hatched area at the side of the bay for each flat built capable of housing a person with a disability and located within 50 metres of the entrance. It is quite obvious that a disabled person would not be able to access a flat without dedicated parking. Properties that do not have such parking could be guilty of discriminating against people with disabilities because they are unable to access the property unless they have such parking. (Equality Act 2010) There is also a need to provide adequate accessible parking for any visitors with a disability.

It is vital that attention is given to the number and location of disabled spaces in the planning stage of a development. STAND has been involved in many cases where costly mistakes have been made causing huge problems for tenants, neighbours, property owners, and the Council.

 

Red Routes

Red routes often replace double yellow lines where blue badge holders have the right to park in order to access goods and services. It is important that these rights are respected and sufficient accessible parking spaces are incorporated into the red routes. Again these would require an EIA to ensure legal rights are retained.

 

Size and Design of Disabled Bays in off Street Parking

Blue badge bays need to be safe and designed so that drivers and passengers can get in and out of the vehicle easily as well as safely. They need to be big enough to allow for the person with a disability to get out of the side or back of the vehicle and into a wheelchair or electric scooter if needed.. Many crutch or stick users need to have the car door fully open in order to get in and out of the car. Cross hatching space at the side of the bay needs to allow for this.

There are rules governing the size, design and placement of bays, (Dept For Transport Parking for Disabled People 1995) but these should be considered a basic minimum as many specially adapted vehicles for people with disabilities are a van size, SUV or MPV size to accommodate their wheelchairs/electric scooters and ramps. Many of these vehicles are now a bigger size than when the rules were first written. Some specially adapted vehicles need enough space behind the vehicle to allow for ramps to be deployed for those people who travel in their electric scooter or wheelchair.

 

Location of Bays

Ideally these should be within 50 metres from the entrance to a main building (see blue badge criteria) They need to be located in safe places, ideally on the ground floor, as close to the main entrance as possible.

The smaller bays with cross hatching on one side of the vehicle should be placed closer to the entrance than the bigger bays, with cross hatching on both sides as the bigger bays are more likely to be used by bigger vehicles with wheelchairs or electric scooters. The smaller ones are more likely to be used by people with heart and lung problems, (hidden disabilities which affect their ability to walk) and crutch or stick users who cannot travel distances over 50 metres without severe pain and distress, but the spaces need to be wide enough for the car/ van door to be fully open to allow entrance and egress without hitting the vehicle parked alongside.

 

Conclusion

The STAND recommendations are made with consideration for the future needs of people with disabilities in the City and the Council’s need to fulfil its’ duties. If there is a need for discussion about the recommendations STAND would be happy to meet via Zoom to explain further.

 

Corona Virus Information

STAND has been trying to find out where we can go for help with shopping, medications etc. during the out break. Simmy from Healthwatch very kindly provided this website for Stoke. https://corona19.vast.org.uk/individuals-requesting-support/

Ring 08005615610 for help with shopping or fetching medication if you have no one else to do this.

To arrange newspaper deliveries ring News Team on 01782 358998. When you ring if there is a long queue press 2 on your phone and they will ring you back.

Offers of help;

Hi Pam it’s Mr Ahmed the taxi driver I would like you to ask any off your group or any one who need any help from hackney carriage association any way ie picking shopping up or to be taken to hospital for appointment or any other assistance we our more the happy to help- ring 07886864432
I have been very touched by the amount of help that people are offering. If you have any information that might help please contact me. pamanne2@outlook.com

A member sent this info regarding PIP

Hi pam

 My pip review is due   this is for info.  They sent my appointment for riverside stoke.  I rang them up 3 wks ago and pointed out world health organisation said we had stay away from doctors surgeries so they booked me an appointment at my home    then goverment said all delayed for 3 months.   Then today had text they still doing it at same time but over the phone.
Ps please inform others    Goverment have not repeat not cancelled assesments.
Regards Terry 
More information as it comes in.

Hospital parking free for disabled people from April 2020

The Government have told hospitals not to charge disabled people to park from April 2020.

See full details by typing this in to your computer.

http://www.gov.uk/government/news/free-hospital-parking-for-thousands-of-patients-staff-and-carers

From February 2021 Royal Stoke has started free parking for disabled blue badge holders. This had been delayed due to Coronavirus but it active from Feb. 2021. You need to register your badge and registration number at the parking office on the ground floor of the multi storey car park. It takes 24 hours before it is loaded onto the software but you can still get free parking by showing your badge to the person at the barrier to the car park or by calling for help by using the button at the side of the barrier. STAND has been campaigning for the return of free parking since the hospital started charging. Our sincere thanks go to our MPs, Jack Brereton has worked very hard on our behalf and to the hospital staff for ensuring this happened even though they were so busy with the pandemic.

Blue badge bays used for charging electric cars

Our local paper, The Sentinel, published an article on charging points for electric cars which shows that some charging points are using disabled bays and turning them into dual purpose bays. STAND is very much against this move as it is unfair to both disabled people and electric car owners.

Please contact STAND if you see this happening locally.

Disabled Parking at Smithfield 1

To access the blue badge bays outside Smithfield 1 you need to drive to the entrance in Warner Street. The work will be completed after 11th Nov 2019 and the planters are in place. I have asked for clarification about getting through the entrance in Warner Street and I am awaiting an answer. For further information click on this link. Smithfield Comms Letter_ (1)

Answer to my query.

Access to the disabled parking bays will be taken from Warner street to the north of 1 Smithfield, the route to the side of 1 Smithfield currently has a bollard in place to prevent vehicle access which will be removed before the planters are installed at Smithfield, to confirm there is no gate access onto site.

Joel Chandler MRICS

Hospital Parking at Stoke

We have had some great news from Jo Gideon’s MP  Office  www.gov.uk/government/news/free-hospital-parking-for-thousands-of-patients-staff-and-carers.  Finally blue badge holdeers can park for Free from April. More news as I get it.

We have had many complaints about the new barrier system of parking now installed on the big disabled car park at Royal Stoke. When this was first installed disabled people could get a refund from the office on the multi storey car park if they took over an hour from entering the car park. You may remember that STAND fought long and hard when the hospital first started charging disabled people to park. We ended up with a compromise of an extra hour being given to disabled people to make “reasonable adjustments” required under the Equality Act 2010. This has now been taken away on the car parks with barriers, and so has the refunds. Today disabled people have no concessions on the barrier car parks at Royal Stoke. The hospital said that disabled people have an extra half hour but this is not as it seems. Your parking time starts from the moment you enter the car park and goes until you pay for your parking. If you are even one minute over the hour, you are charged for two hours and the machines do not give change. The half hour mentioned is to allow you to get back to your car and get through the barriers. IT IS NOT A CONCESSION. IT IS AN OPERATING MECHANISM AND APPLIES TO EVERYONE PARKING ON THE BARRIER CAR PARKS.

As you can imagine STAND is contesting this as we believe the hospital is discriminating against disabled people by charging them more to park than none disabled because their disability means that they take longer to travel. Equality Act 2010

The hospital is also flouting Government Guidelines that say hospital should make concessions for disabled people parking.

So far STAND has had a meeting with hospital officials to discuss the matter and have a promise to look at this again, however they say that they have had many compliments about the new system. Perhaps disabled people do not complain enough to the right people because STAND has certainly had many complaints

We have also contacted our local MPs and have had superb support from them.

The next action will be to contact The Equality Commission to get their help to stop this blatant discrimination.

Blue Badge Bay Abuse On Private Land

We have had yet another report of abuse of blue badge bays on private land. Members will recall STAND contacting the Minister responsible and he told us that the landowners were responsible for policing the blue badge spaces on the land that they own. This comes under the 2010 Equality Act. It is obvious to us that either landowners are unaware of these responsibilities or are deliberately ignoring them.

Can members please report all instances of this abuse, with photographs if possible and then we can confront the present Minister with our findings.

Museum Parking

The Council are proposing to build over the existing disabled car park at the museum. Stand has met with officials and there were two sites for the new parking spaces. one for 5 spaces outside the museum in Bethesda Street or a small car park between the museum and the library. STAND said that we needed both as it would be dangerous for disabled drivers to transfer from car to wheelchair on the street as they would be in the path of heavy traffic. These spaces are ideal for people who were unable to walk very, or who were passengers. The other car park would have been too far away (It was over 50 mtrs) for people who cannot walk very far but it would have been ideal for drivers in wheelchairs to transfer in safety. The distance is less of a problem in a wheelchair.

There will be far more people with blue badges after March this year as the rules are changing to include more conditions that will be included within the blue badge criteria so we will need more spaces.

Following our concerns the Council have appointed an independent company to look at the safety issues we raised and that company has deemed the transfers in Bethesda Street to be safe so this is their preferred option. We remain concerned and have had these concerns recorded. Our local MPs are also looking at this issue.

 

Red Routes

STAND have met with Council officials to discuss the impact of the red routes on people with disabilities. Our stance is that where there are double yellow lines on the road, at the moment people with blue badges can park for up to three hours providing there are no yellow bands on the pavement, you are not causing an obstruction and you park with the blue badge clearly visible. Red routes take this right away and therefore there must be reasonable adjustments put in place to allow people with disabilities who have a blue badge to access goods and services they need.

We have made our views clear and have enabled several changes to be made to the proposed red routes. If you have any concerns about the proposals please get in touch with STAND via this website.

Claymills Pumping Station

STAND members were asked to advise Claymills Pumping Station on accessibility. We were invited to visit and offer suggestions to make this wonderful place easier for people with disabilities to visit.

http://claymills.org.uk/

We found it very easy to get around and the staff had obviously given a great deal of thought to accessibility. Their access statement was very helpful, giving information that we need to know.

The people we met were very hospitable and we enjoyed a lovely cup of tea and cake before we went around Claymills.

They have applied for a grant to expand the visitor facilities. We sincerely hope that they get this and look forward to visiting again when the work is complete.