Free car parking to end for thousands of blue badge holders across Hartlepool

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Parking charges for blue badge holders in council car parks in Hartlepool are to be reinstated in the new year.

The charges have been suspended since July after a motion was put forward by the Labour group on Hartlepool Borough Council following talks with the town’s Community Led Inclusion Partnership (CLIP).

This stated parking charges in council car parks for blue badge holders would be suspended “until such time as proper engagement with the disabled community can take place”.

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It added the issues highlighted would also need to be addressed to the “satisfaction” of those with disabilities before charges were reinstated.

Temporary free parking for blue badge holders in Hartlepool is set to end.Temporary free parking for blue badge holders in Hartlepool is set to end.
Temporary free parking for blue badge holders in Hartlepool is set to end.

At the latest full council meeting, managing director Denise McGuckin outlined how the council has met with the CLIP and undertaken “full consultation and engagement” with an “action plan” agreed.

She therefore recommended council agree to lift the suspension on parking charges for blue badge holders from January.

She added: “The works we envisage to have done by January, which is why we’re not asking for charges to be re-implemented immediately.”

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Following clarification being requested by councillor Jonathan Brash, it was confirmed the charges will not be reintroduced until the planned works have been completed.

This means the suspension may not be lifted until later in January if delays are faced.

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Council reports noted concerns raised by the disabled community were in relation to access to pay and display meters and the need for improved signage across council car parks.

Arrangements were therefore put in place for remedial works to commence at a number of locations.

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Council officers added all improvements will be in line with the Department of Transport Inclusive Mobility Best Practice, with a priority list drawn up for where actions are needed.

Figures from December 2021 stated there were around 6,000 blue badge holders in Hartlepool at that time.

Concerns were also raised at the meeting around the removal of temporary signs which had been put in place in council car parks explaining how charges for blue badge holders were suspended.

Mrs McGuckin confirmed “no instruction has been given to any officers to remove the notices” and that any removals would likely have been a result of bad weather or residents moving them.

She added: “We can put temporary signage back up to make sure that is the case.”