NEWS COMMENT: Is it time to look again at the disabled parking bay scheme?

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Dotted around any residential street you’re likely to find parking spaces designated as being for disabled drivers.

These spaces have been put there by the local authority at the request of a resident – usually right outside their home.

However, these spaces are not then for the exclusive use of the person who requested them. If one is empty, anyone with a blue badge can use it.

Combine this with the already overcrowded situation on Portsmouth’s streets and the long-running row over residential parking zones, and you’re looking at a recipe for major frustration.

When it gets to the point that someone who has a disabled bay outside their home is afraid to move their own car from it, because the space will immediately be filled by another vehicle, it’s clear that something isn’t right.

James Jewitt says he pays £30 for a parking permit for his zone in case the bay is taken when he returns home, but that this is next to useless for him because there are so rarely any other free spaces near where he lives.

For an able-bodied person this is frustrating, for someone with a disability, it can have a significant impact. Mr Jewitt says the situation is so bad it could effectively render him housebound.

He suspects it is being used by people borrowing relatives’ blue badges to get free parking (he lives within regular walking distance of both the Historic Dockyards and Gunwharf Quays). A quick look back at The News in recent months and the number of court cases we have featured on people abusing the scheme could suggest that his suspicions are not without foundation.

The 59-year-old is not calling for the bay to be made exclusive to him, only that it is limited to people in the same zone. This doesn’t seem unreasonable.

Maybe it’s something the council could look at.