At Women and Equalities questions, Julian Sturdy, Member of Parliament for York Outer, raised several recent controversial decisions by City of York Council regarding city centre parking provision with the Minster for Disabled People, Chloe Smith MP.
Following the council’s decision in November to remove the exemption for blue badge holders to park in pedestrianised zones and the planned closure of Castle Car Park which would result in the loss of 31 disabled parking spaces, Mr Sturdy asked the Minister if the Government agrees with him that city centres should remain accessible to all.
After questioning the Minister, Mr Sturdy said:
“I was incredibly pleased to hear the Minister agree with me that the city centre in York should be fully accessible to all local residents and visitors and in many ways I am alarmed that we are even having to have this conversation.
I have been contacted by numerous constituents who feel extremely frustrated by the council’s actions on city centre parking provision which is not only making life much more difficult for blue badge holders, but also for anyone in York Outer who due to lack of alternative transport relies on driving into the city centre to work and access vital amenities.
Furthermore, with no guarantee to replace the hundreds of spaces lost by the development of Castle Car Park, including 31 disabled bays, businesses in the city centre will begin to suffer with the uncertainty as customers look elsewhere to shop.
As the Minister said in her response to my question, local authorities have obligations under the Equality Act 2010 and I look forward to having further discussions with Ministers as to how City of York Council can be held to these obligations.
I have already requested copies of the written advice she will issue to relevant departments and I will share these with constituents, campaigners and City of York Council."