AM calls for Bridgend Council to Urgently make Disabled Parking Badge Change

Suzy Davies 1Suzy Davies has called on Bridgend County Borough Council to review its Disabled Blue Badge policy.

This comes after she found that Bridgend Council is still using the Welsh Government’s new “tool kit” to assess applications for disabled parking badge applications despite the policy now being reviewed by the Minister in charge.

In March this year Edwina Hart, the Economy, Science, and Transport Minister released a statement, following queries from AMs about the new tool kit, in which she confirmed that she would be carrying out a review into whether the policy needed to be revised.

While both Swansea and Neath Port Talbot Councils decided to suspend their use of the new tool kit until the review was complete, Bridgend have not.

It has now come to light that almost six months on from this, the Council are still refusing to budge.

Mrs Davies, Welsh Conservative AM for South Wales West, said: “I am disappointed and surprised to find out that Bridgend Council are too stubborn to budge on this.

“While other Council’s have made the sensible decision to suspend the use of the Welsh Government’s faulty tool kit as it could disadvantage residents with mobility issues, Bridgend are still failing their own rate-payers.”

In a recent letter Bridgend County Borough Council stated that they have “no plans to suspend the use of the tool-kit pending the outcome of the review.”

Mrs Davies added “I was pleased when the Minister listened to the concerns of AMs from across the board on this one.

“The Minister herself said that she had identified issues with the new process and she had found ‘areas where the Toolkit could be further refined’.

“I and my constituents are curious to know why Bridgend County Borough Council is using guidance which the Minister herself has stated there are issues with. In doing so they could be severely disadvantaging many older and disabled members of our communities who rely on their Blue Badges to have the same levels of access and mobility as other residents.

“Why are Bridgend Council refusing to suspend the use of the Toolkit when the other two councils in my region have taken the hint and suspended it?”

In January 2015 it was heard by Neath Port Talbot Council that the number of applications being refused under the new scheme was of “great concern.”

Of the 41 Disabled Parking applications made to date, only eight were granted Blue Badges. Furthermore, of the 33 application refused by NPT Council using the Toolkit, most would have been awarded Blue Badges under the old scheme.

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