Council leaders have been forced to apologise after the Lord Mayor of York’s limousine was spotted parked in a city centre footstreet, where Blue Badge holders have been barred by the authority following a decision in November to prevent disabled parking to allow for anti-terrorism devices.
BBC News reports that people with disabilities feel the Blue Badge ban has left them feeling like ‘second-class citizens’, and York Accessibility Action tweeted: “Absolutely disgraceful that City of York Council think it’s one rule for disabled people and another one for them.”
York resident Ben Phillips said that he spotted and photographed the limo on Goodramgate at 6.30 pm on Sunday 5 December, which also happens to be a time when no disabled motorists are allowed down the street.
He tweeted: “Nice to see @CityofYork managed to find parking for the Mayor in the City Centre. Doesn’t even need a blue badge. Warms your heart, doesn’t it.”
He told the BBC: “I thought it really summed up the council and their general behaviour in all ways, and the arrogance and disdain they’ve shown to those with accessibility issues.”
Mr Phillips added that he felt it was ‘pretty sickening’ to see the large car parked where it was, and it was ‘just taking the proverbial’.
He said that he had been following the recent saga of the Blue Badge ban by the City of York Council, preventing disabled parking in the footstreets area, which has proved to be a highly controversial topic in the city, prompting claims that the authority is breaching the human rights of disabled motorists, and seeing the limo left him feeling disgusted.
Helen Jones, of the York Disability Rights Forum, said she was ‘shocked’ by the news, adding that Blue Badge holders are now left with two options, to either not go into the city centre, or to do so and struggle, often in pain and at a detriment to their health.
“To learn that the Civic Car has been seen, parked, in Goodramgate is heartbreaking, disgusting and is just one more case of Blue Badge holders being treated like second class citizens,” She said.
She said that to have one rule for the Lord Mayor and another for the disabled citizens of the city is a blatant example of privilege in action.
Janie Berry, the director of governance at the City of York Council, said they were sorry for the Civic Car being on the footstreets at Goodramgate that evening, and that it should not have done so, as it did not have permission.
She added that the council is investigating to determine how the incident happened and to ensure it does not happen again.
The council website states that following government advice on the pandemic for urban centres, the times that vehicles can access the city have been changed so that there is additional space for pedestrians and businesses to observe social distancing.
“Currently, the pedestrian zone footstreet hours are between 10.30 am and 8.00 pm, 7 days a week,” it said.
If you’re disabled or have a health condition that affects your mobility, you can apply for a Blue Badge, which allows parking closer to destinations.
If you’re interested in other ways of improving accessibility, such as disabled bathrooms in Reading, talk to us today.