Latest Disability Today Article – Blue Badge Parking

Our on-street parking charges are rising again. The county council have certainly discovered a steady and endless source of income in the form of the hapless motorist. The income local authorities raise from motorists is set to exceed £1 billion in 2019/2020 and despite the Department for Communities and Local Government statement that councils should not “use parking as a cash cow” we are left wondering where the money raised in this way is being spent. When originally introduced we were assured that  ‘Parking charges are there to manage traffic, not raise revenue, with any money left over after costs ring fenced for spending on transport, including extra parking provision’. What appears to have happened in Eastbourne is that the money is being spent on a prestigious project in the town centre which far from providing extra parking provision is actually reducing them in an attempt to encourage greater use of public transport, just as bus services are being reduced. With fewer parking provision comes the inevitable reduction in town centre Blue Badge parking places and this coincides with the increase in Blue Badge eligibility for those with hidden disabilities. But fear not.

Blue Badges allow those with severe disabilities to park in restricted areas. In Eastbourne Blue Badge holders may park free of charge and for any length of time at on-street parking meters except in spaces and bays designated for other users such as permit holders only and parking is not permitted in ‘No Loading’ areas there are still many areas where blue badge holders can park. Download the PDF leaflet Where Not To Park with a Blue Badge for full details.

For Blue Badge bays in the town centre there is usually a three hour time limit but this can vary so always read the signs to check parking time allowed.
Free parking is also available in the Council car parks but be aware there is a time limit of 2 hours in the Hyde Gardens off-street parking area.
The multi-storey car parks (Beacon, Junction Road, Trinity Place) do charge for all vehicles but the Beacon is free for all on Sundays but again in other car parks be sure to read the information signs and always place your blue badge and clock, set at the time of arrival, facing upwards on your dashboard so it can easily be seen and always remember to read the road signage and markings before parking and leaving your car.

That said it still leaves Blue Badge parking areas further from the town centre than they were and this will continue to be the case when phase II of the town’s redesign kicks in. The Eastbourne Access group is still deep in negotiation about this presenting the case of how it will disadvantage disabled people and the elderly especially those who have any form of impairment.

A final thought – What about our ever increasing crop of potholes? Is there any money left to repair them?