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.



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.