York residents have welcomed the council’s first steps to reverse the ‘blue badge ban’ - and called for it to be done “quickly”.

The first of City of York Council’s in person workshops took place on Friday (December 15) at the Friends’ Meeting House in Friargate.

Several other workshops will follow as part of the authority’s public consultation on how the ban will be reversed.

York residents Ann Pask and Katie Scott were at the workshop on Friday. 

Neither are blue badge holders themselves but have family members who are.

And so, they have seen how the ban has impacted those close to them.

“It’s impossible to come into the city centre unless they have their own transport,” Ms Mask told The Press.

“It’s about re-establishing public routes.”

The 71-year-old retired head teacher from Bishopthorpe Road felt the ban made the city “unwelcoming” and called for action to reverse it.

Asked what she would like to happen, Ms Mask replied: “The council to reverse the policy to how it used to be.”

Ms Scott, from Acomb, shared the same view.

“It feels like the council are now listening and I hope this is done in a timely fashion,” she said.

“Let’s get this done quickly.”

The 43-year-old, who works as a gardener, added: “York is a friendly place and this is a very unfriendly policy.”

The pair raised concerns over how access would be restored.

As The Press reported, City of York Council revealed that it plans to reopen some foot streets in the city centre to drivers with blue badges between the hours of 10.30am to 5pm, when the streets are usually closed to vehicles.

York Press: Access is to be granted from Goodramgate on January 4Access is to be granted from Goodramgate on January 4 (Image: NQ)

It followed the council’s executive voting to overturn the ban in October.

The council plans to restore access for blue badge holders via Goodramgate from Thursday, January 4, and via Blake Street at Easter.

But the residents said it was unclear how disabled people could be picked up and dropped off by someone who does not have a blue badge.

Claire Foale, City of York Council’s assistant director of policy and strategy, was at the consultation and said there is no “clear answer” to this yet.

She said the purpose of the consultation is to listen to residents and take their views forward to help come up with answers.

“People have been sharing their experiences of what it was like in 2019,” Ms Foale told The Press.

“They’ve been talking more about how they used to use the city then and what they’re looking forward to getting back to doing on January 4.”

Read next:

Amy Fortnam from the Centre for Applied Human Rights at the University of York was also at the workshop.

She said people spoke to her about their “negative experience” with previous council policies.

“There is a bit of optimism that things are going to change and change for the better,” Ms Fortnam told The Press.

“There is a real opportunity here for things to improve.”

The next workshop will be held on Saturday (December 16) at the Friends’ Meeting House in Friargate from 2pm to 4pm. 

A further eight workshops will be held during February and March. These will be facilitated by independent access consultants and representatives from the Centre for Human Rights.