OAP’s fury over Blue Badge removal

PARKING PASS ... a Blue Badge.
PARKING PASS ... a Blue Badge.

A PENSIONER has expressed her fury after an application to renew a Blue Badge disability parking pass was rejected.

Badge holders can park on single or double yellow lines for as long as they need to, unless there is a ban on loading and unloading.

The pass was a godsend for 80-year-old Mary Thompson, of St Peter’s Avenue, Harton, South Shields.

Mrs Thompson suffers from arthritis and heart-related problems and also cares for her 49-year-old son, who suffers from epilepsy and has regular hospital appointments after suffering a serious fall in 2008.

But her renewal application was rejected because she was deemed not to require assistance getting out and about.

It’s a decision which she says has made her and her son’s life “100 per cent worse”.

She said: “Blue Badge holders should beware. Unless you are in a wheelchair or on higher-rate mobility you are unlikely to have your badge renewed.

“I was turned down because I did not require assistance when out and about. That is rubbish. I am 80 years old with arthritis.

“I needed my Blue Badge to look after my son, who has unpredictable epilepsy and can fall down at any time.

“I have to take him to hospital and all other appointments. The Blue Badge was a lifeline for us.

“My son is unable to drive because of his epilepsy. I have to take him everywhere, and he does need assistance when we are out and about.”

Mrs Thompson’s son subsequently applied for a Blue Badge pass in his own name – but was also rejected.

Now she has contacted the local authority ombudsman to raise her concerns at the decisions.

She added: “I suggest anyone who feels they have been assessed unfairly does the same and we may get justice for disabled drivers in this town.”

A South Tyneside Council council spokesman said: “Blue Badges are issued on a person’s ability to move around safely in line with national criteria set by the Department for Transport.

“This is intended to ensure that the right people are in receipt of a blue badge and to prevent abuse of the system.

“Unfortunately, following an assessment by an occupational therapist of Ms Thompson’s walking ability and a letter from her GP, the decision that she does not qualify for a blue badge at this time has been upheld.

“We are keen to support people with their mobility needs where we can but have to follow the Department for Transport guidelines.

“However, should Ms Thompson’s circumstances change, we would be happy reconsider.”