People applying for dedicated disabled bays outside their Angus home have been accused of “self-inflicting” illnesses and not having disabilities.
Objections have been lodged for proposed dedicated spaces in residential streets, all in Arbroath, an Angus Council report has shown.
The report, due to go before councillors next week, shows that of 134 potential on-street disabled parking places across Angus, objections were raised in relation to four bays in Arbroath.
One objection was withdrawn after the location of the bay was moved when it was shown that it might prevent vehicular access to a nearby property.
However, another objector stated that the blue badge scheme was “corrupt to the core”, adding “it’s not fair when tax paying residents can’t get parked after a long day at work when disabled bays remain empty.”
One individual argued that “there is a huge proportion of blue badge holders whose alleged disabilities are self-inflicted through life style choice” adding that “it is wrong that such people should be rewarded for their actions when the rest of society, who make an effort regarding their health, have to pay for it.”
The same objector also complained that they had never seen anyone “who even looks remotely disabled” using one of the parking bays.
There was also concern at the impact the disabled parking space might have where on-street parking was already at a premium.
A leading disability charity described the comments as “disappointing”, pointing out not all disabilities are physically obvious.
Ian Buchanan from Disability Equality Scotland said: “Complaints that people using disabled parking bays or disabled toilets ‘don’t look disabled’ are actually quite common.
“Just because someone is not in a wheelchair does not mean they are not disabled and we need to raise awareness of hidden disabilities.
“It is disappointing in this day and age that these kind of comments are still being made, and it shows the scale of the challenge we face.”
Angus Council can provide an on-street disabled persons parking place if a blue badge holder applies for one.
The parking space is not legally enforceable until a traffic regulation order is promoted, at which point the public has the opportunity to lodge objections.
Elected members will hear at a meeting on Tuesday that where an applicant for a bay is in possession of a valid blue badge, then the council generally must provide one if a suitable location can be identified and the applicant has no other nearby parking option such as a driveway.
The enforcement of these bays is a council responsibility and where there is clear evidence that a bay is being abused then action can be taken.
This includes the issue of a penalty notice, or in circumstances where the blue badge is abused, the badge may be withdrawn.