Council rejects new disabled parking limit

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A PLAN to restrict how long disabled drivers can park in the town centre has been thrown out by the council’s traffic committee.

Rasoul Shahilow, head of parking and highways for Hastings Borough Council (HBC), had recommended that the disabled parking pays in the middle of town would have a three-hour time limit imposed on them at all times. At the moment there is a four-hour limit between 8am and 6pm, and no limit in the evenings.

In a report presented to the HBC traffic management committee on Monday, Mr Shahilow said: “The proposal reflects policy in other town centres in the county, such as Eastbourne, and is designed to increase the usage of the bays. A three-hour turnover will effectively create more spaces available for blue badge holders.”

But Cllr Paul Barlow, who represents Castle ward which covers the town centre objected to the proposals, saying they would penalise disabled people wanting to enjoy an evening out. The committee agreed and the plans were turned down.

Cllr Barlow said: “The proposal would have meant that disabled people would have been prevented from coming into town in the evenings for dinner, to see a film or - God forbid - attend a council meeting. Evenings will now see disabled bays openly available.”

The committee did agree to move some of the Old Town coach stops further west towards the town centre after complaints about drivers keeping their engines running near cafes, and the councillors also rubberstamped controversial proposals to allow car parking at the bottom end of Falaise Road during the evenings.

Language schools had complained the change would disrupt the arrivals of foreign students but committee chairman Cllr Phil Scott said: “Although Falaise Road is very busy with coaches during the day in the summer, it is clear that we don’t need the whole of the road for overnight coach parking.”

The extra space would help people going to the White Rock Theatre, he added.