89-year-old man’s anger as council refuses blue badge

Fly-tipping in Harold Road. Picture: Andrew Pearce

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AN 89-YEAR-OLD Southsea man says he has to park his car next to his own disabled space – after being refused a new permit.

Robert Kirsch’s application to renew his blue badge was turned down after failing to meet the criteria.

Now he says he has been forced to park next to his disabled bay for fear of receiving a fine.

Mr Kirsch says the bay is still in place and has not been used since.

The blue badges help disabled drivers park closer to their destinations and are distributed by the local authority based on government guidance.

Under Department for Transport (DFT) guidelines, applicants who can walk more than 80 metres and demonstrate little difficulty in doing so would be refused a permit.

Mr Kirsch, of Bath Road, Southsea, says he was deemed able to walk the distance following an assessment last month.

He said: ‘I had an examination and they asked me a few questions.

‘They asked me how far I could walk and I said to the end of the block and back.

‘They asked if it was 100 yards and I said probably not.

‘If I walked 100 yards I would have to do the same back and I couldn’t do that.’

Mr Kirsch, who has a carer after his wife Sarah passed away two years ago aged 82, said he was surprised not to have the badge renewed.

He added: ‘I have a string of tablets to take and I walk with a stick.

‘They say I can reach a shop but there’s no shops within 100 yards. I would like to see my badge come back.’

Portsmouth City Council said it follows government guidelines. It says the council is not entitled to issue badges on the basis of an applicant’s age.

Mr Kirsch’s bay is also now likely to be withdrawn, according to the authority.

A DFT spokesman said: ‘Decisions on badges are entirely for local authorities to take.

‘Applicants can appeal to their local authority if they consider that the rules have not been applied properly or relevant factors have not been taken into account.

‘The government issued guidance to local authorities in 2011 and again in 2012.

‘This has led to local authorities reviewing their procedures and processes.

‘Some people are being turned down for badges at renewal stage because they do not meet the criteria.’