Petition calls for more disabled parking bays in Sheffield

A petition has been launched to get more disabled parking bays across Sheffield, with its founder branding the shortage '˜discriminatory'.

Monday, 10th December 2018, 1:32 pm
Updated Monday, 10th December 2018, 1:35 pm
Ann-Marie Marshall (pic: Pete McKee 2018)

Ann-Marie Marshall says she founded the petition to end the daily discrimination faced by disabled customers trying to access shops and services by car.

The 50-year-old, who lives in the Rivelin Valley and requires a mobility scooter to get around, believes Sheffield Council missed out on a trick by not requiring contractor Amey to provide extra disabled bays as part of the £2.2 billion Streets Ahead deal.

Ann-Marie Marshall (pic: Pete McKee 2018)

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Members of the public can request disabled bays but, with limited funding available, there is no guarantee that request will be met and even if it is it could take many months or years to happen.

There are nine outstanding requests, the oldest of which was made in 2010, and the council says the legal process to get a new bay '“ by securing what is known as a traffic regulation order '“ costs £5,000.

Ms Marshall claims the council is failing in its duty under the Equality Act 2010 to provide adequate facilities for all.

'With so many streets across Sheffield having been resurfaced, it's billy bonkers they didn't take the opportunity to add more disabled bays at the same time,' she said.

'Disabled adults, children and carers should be able to shop locally, meet friends and support local businesses. Not having enough disabled bays makes this difficult and is discriminatory.

'Having a guaranteed spot and a bit of extra space to get mobility aids out can be the difference between being able to access shops and essential services like pharmacies or not.

'Sheffield Council has a duty under the Equality Act to provide adequate parking for disabled people, and I believe it's failing in that duty.'

Val Bowen, information officer at the charity Disabilty Sheffield, said: 'As a disabled person's user-led organisation we would of course welcome more disabled parking bays in the city and understand how difficult it is to park and be able to access the high street.'

The outstanding requests for disabled bays are among more than 3,500 on the council's waiting list for small highways improvements, for which only £5,000 a month is currently allocated.

But the council says it is trying to secure extra funding for the provision of such bays from April next year, and work is underway to get three new bays in Crookes, as requested by Ms Marshall.

Councillor Jack Scott, cabinet member for transport and development, said marking out new disabled bays was fairly simple, and it was the legal work which could be costly and time-consuming, meaning there would have been no advantage from including them in the Streets Ahead contract.

'We understand the need for more disabled parking bays and I want to get the additional bays in Crookes, as requested by Ms Marshall, but unfortunately there's no way to speed up the legal process,' he added.

'I'm aware this is an issue and we're looking at what we can do because it's really important that everyone with impairments in Sheffield has access to parking spaces.

'People can request disabled bays if they think they're needed in a particular area. If they do that, we will assess how much parking there is at that location.

'We have to get the balance right between the number of dedicated bays needed for people with impairments and the number available for all drivers to use.

'People with disabilities can use their blue badges not just in disabled bays but on double yellow lines too.'

OUTSTANDING REQUESTS FOR DISABLED PARKING BAYS IN SHEFFIELD

City ward '“ 1 location '“ requested January 2016

Crookes & Crosspool ward '“1 location '“ requested July 2018

Dore & Totley ward '“ 1 location '“  requested August 2018

Ecclesall ward '“ 1 location '“ requested September 2017

Firth Park ward '“ 2 locations '“ requested September 2014

Shiregreen & Brightside ward '“ 1 location '“ April 2016

Walkley ward '“ 1 location '“ requested October 2011

West Ecclesfield '“ 1 location '“ requested September 2010