CONTROVERSIAL plans to charge disabled people to park next to the sea have been scrapped in the face of huge opposition.
Havant Borough Council was planning to charge Blue Badge holders to use beach car parks on Hayling Island.
The council had deemed the seafront car parks as ‘recreational’ and said everyone should pay to use them.
But the proposal, which would have raked in around £10,000 a year for the council, has been shelved due to its unpopularity.
A consultation with 178 Blue Badge holders revealed that almost 80 per cent were against the plans.
The council has also admitted it would have been impractical as the car parks are on rough terrain, making it difficult for someone in a wheelchair to get to a pay and display machine.
Ray Chowns, 68, a Blue Badge holder, of Salterns Lane, Hayling Island, said it was a victory for disabled people.
He said: ‘It was all wrong. It’s beautiful down there and I like going there.
‘We get fish and chips and go and sit on the seafront. There’s a lot of people who come down to watch the boats.
‘Why should disabled people have to pay?’
A council report said the cost of revamping the car park’s machines to make them disabled-compliant would be £117,000. Councillor Jenny Wride, who heads parking in Havant borough, said: ‘In 2008 there was a decision to look at the charge. We have now looked at it thoroughly.
‘It’s extremely difficult to comply totally with Disability Discrimination Act requirements. It would be an enormous cost and we have decided not to proceed.’
She added: ‘It’s important to remember that the council’s aim is to treat each resident with equality and respect while recognising their diverse requirements.’
As part of the decision-making over the car parks, the council is set to introduce an overnight charge for motorhome parking in West Beach Car Park on Hayling Island.
This will be £15 per night in March, April, May, September and October and £20 per night during June, July and August.
Motorhomes will be banned from parking in other Beachlands car parks between 10pm and 8am throughout the year.