DISABLED residents face parking problems under plans to make city-centre streets in York car-free zones for longer, opposition councillors have claimed.
City of York Council last week agreed a trial which will standardise the hours when York’s footstreet rules operate – giving pedestrians priority and restricting vehicles.
They will apply between 10.30am and 5pm every day, meaning they will be in force for ten-and-a-half extra hours a week.
Traffic will also be banned from Davygate for most of the day.
However, Liberal Democrat councillors Keith Aspden and Nigel Ayre, together with independent councillor Lynn Jeffries – also an equality campaigner – have “called in” the decision by Coun Dave Merrett, cabinet member for transport, for more scrutiny.
They said 1,500 severely disabled York residents who have “green” permits will no longer be allowed to enter Davygate, St Sampson’s Square and Church Street and park for up to three hours, and the number of potential city-centre parking spaces they can use will be cut by a third.
The councillors want a further review of the Labour-run authority’s changes, saying there was little or no sign that permit-holders had been consulted and equalities issues had not been properly analysed.
“I agree with a lot of the footstreets review, but the proposals to cut parking for disabled residents seem to have been very poorly prepared,” said Coun Ayre, the Lib Dems’ equalities spokesman.
“The call-in should ensure the policy is properly analysed and Labour is forced to either provide evidence of any consultation or commit to consulting before the changes are implemented.
“It is the minimum which should be expected for a decision which will impact upon some of the most vulnerable residents in our community.”
Coun Merrett said the necessary assessments and consultations had been carried out.
He said: “Green permit holders will continue to enjoy access to St Sampson’s Square and Church Street, via Goodramgate.
“With the proposed change reducing other illegal access into Davygate, green badge holders should have a much better chance of being able to park centrally.
“The maximum distance to any part of the footstreets from any green or blue badge parking or from outside the footstreets will be unaffected, and any permanent proposal to alter arrangements for badge-holders will be subject to a full impact assessment and consultation before any decision is taken.”