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Warning sounded over abuse of disabled parking bays

A warning is being sounded to motorists over the abuse of disabled parking bays across Middlesbrough.
 
They are being urged to ensure the clearly marked spaces are left free for those who really need them – or face hefty fines.
 
Stainton & Thornton ward Councillor David Coupe is spearheading a campaign to raise awareness of the issue and encourage people to park responsibly.
 
The move follows his dismay at seeing abuse of disabled parking provision at a number of sites including the James Cook University Hospital, the Parkway Centre and Tesco Coulby Newham.
 
Cllr Coupe said: “My partner is disabled and we’ve noticed an increase in the number of people using disabled parking bays without the necessary Blue Badge.
 
“This is completely unacceptable, and I would urge those responsible to think very carefully about their actions.
 
“Disabled parking bays are provided for a reason, and serve as an important lifeline for those who, for any number of reasons, benefit from easier access to a whole range of amenities, services and facilities.
 
“For those without disability to use them is utterly selfish, and I hope we can work together to put an end to this unacceptable behaviour.”
 
The national Blue Badge scheme allows parking concessions for people with disabilities who travel as either drivers or passengers. 
 
Middlesbrough Council provides 83 dedicated disabled parking bays within Council-operated public car parks and 65 on-street dedicated disabled parking bays.
 
Motorists who use these bays are required to clearly display a valid Blue Badge in their vehicle, in accordance with literature provided to Blue Badge holders by the Department of Transport.
 
Motorists who fail to comply with the regulations risk receiving a penalty charge notice. 
 
Middlesbrough Council takes the misuse of disabled parking bays and blue badges seriously and regularly uses its enforcement powers to discourage misuse.
 
In the past 12 months 305 penalty charge notices have been issued to vehicles for failure to clearly display a valid Blue Badge while parked in a disabled parking bay. 
 
Following the introduction of new powers in 2013 which enable the Council’s Civil Enforcement Officers to inspect Blue Badges and seize those that are not valid or are being used by someone other than the holder, more than 100 have been seized.
 
As well as enforcement during regular patrols, Civil Enforcement Officers carry out targeted inspections if they have reason to believe a badge is being misused or specific facilities are being misused.
 
Cllr Lewis Young, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Economic Development and Infrastructure, said: “There is ample parking in Middlesbrough, with some excellent free offers, and all of it reasonably priced.
 
“Disabled bays are a key part of our offer across the town, and they’re a vital tool in ensuring Middlesbrough is as accessible as possible.
 
“There is quite simply no excuse for anyone to misuse them. To do so is lazy and irresponsible in the extreme – and we will not hesitate to issue penalty charge notices to those who flout the rules.
 
“I wholehearted endorse Cllr Coupe’s campaign, and I would urge all right-thinking people to report instances of abuse so we can stamp this out once and for all.”
For more information on the Blue Badge disabled parking scheme visit https://middlesbrough.gov.uk/bluebadge