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OAP highlights disabled parking headaches

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By Christie Breen
Dumfries and West
OAP highlights disabled parking headaches

A DUMFRIES pensioner ‘doesn’t know where to turn’ after his concerns about disabled parking in the town centre fell on deaf ears.

Joseph McKenzie first took up the cause in January when ten disabled parking spaces within the town centre were lost to make way for EV chargers and long-term building developments. He also noticed issues with signage as spaces were no longer being marked by the ‘blue badge holders only’ signs.

Since taking up his cause Joseph, has been in correspondence with the council’s roads department, and after waiting months for a reply they told Joseph that the redefining and signage of disabled spaces was ‘no longer necessary’.

He has also written letters to councillors, MSPs and disability charity DGVoice to try and improve the situation but 11 months on there has been little progress, as Joseph explained: “Sometimes I’ve got to park as far away as Queensberry Street to get to the Loreburn Centre because there is only one parking space outside Marks and Spencers, the only other one is outside the Loreburn Centre on Irish Street.

“I’ll be honest, before age and disease caught up with me, I didn’t give disabled people a second thought but something needs to be done about misuse of and lack of disabled parking in the town.

“I’ve got letters from the council and my MSP promising the earth but as far as I can see nothing has changed at all. I just want people to take it seriously.”

Disability charity DGVoice share Joseph’s frustrations and have had little luck themselves in raising the issue but believe there are other reasons at play, as a spokesperson for the organisation said: “The number of new applications for Blue Badges is decreasing, which creates a vicious circle as the council base how many disabled parking spaces they need to provide based on the number of Blue Badges allocated. So if people don’t apply, the council don’t have a way to gauge the genuine number of disabled parkers, and nothing changes or may be reduced.

“If people were aware of the importance that having a Blue Badge has and applied for them, the council would be forced to provide more places as they would have to then have to adhere to their policies and quotas.”

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