Disabled parking bay will make ‘huge difference’ for residents

A COUPLE who has finally been granted a disabled parking bay outside their home in Lees after three years says the space will make a ‘huge difference’ to their lives.

Richard Wright suffered a stroke 13 years ago and was left with reduced mobility and balance, which has deteriorated further over the last 18 months during lockdown.

He successfully applied to Oldham Council about three years ago for a blue badge and also requested a disabled parking bay outside the house on Thomas Street which he shares with wife Debbie.

The couple says they were told over the years by Oldham Council that there was no money available to provide the spots – despite the application form still being open.

Disabled Parking Bays Cllr Mark Kenyon and Richard Wright

They called on the help of Grotton, Springhead and Lees councillor Mark Kenyon to fight their cause and now recently received confirmation that their request has been approved.

“It will make a massive difference,” admitted Richard. “I will be able to get straight out of the house and into the car instead of trying to walk down the street or into the road.”

The parking bay will be installed once a traffic regulation order has been passed by the council and is one of 30 approved across the borough.

Debbie added: “We do not like to go out at the moment because we often can’t park when we get back. We don’t just want this bay – we need it.

“We’ve been pushing for this because there isn’t enough parking around here.

“There’s a lot of customers for the businesses, no resident parking and only one disabled bay around the corner and one in the library car park which isn’t enough.”

Cllr Kenyon welcomed the decision by Oldham Council to grant 30 disabled parking bays but said he will continue to push for others who those haven’t been so lucky yet.

He says figures show there were 120 applications with 30 approved and the remaining either still waiting for an answer or discounted because they don’t meet the qualifying criteria.

Cllr Kenyon, a Liberal Democrat who was elected in May, said: “A disabled parking pay might seem like it’s such a small thing but it will make a big difference for people like Richard and Debbie.

“They have not been going out for the worry of not being able to park close enough to home when they get back. My heart goes out to them.

“I understand the council has pressures but things like this need to be addressed. I’m incensed there’s at least another 60 families who have missed out.

“A disabled parking spot is not a perk to be won in a council lottery, it’s a lifeline.

“Covid has increased isolation across our area, and disabled parking spaces give people the freedom and choices that many of us take for granted – if we go out of the house, we can get back in again.

“I’m happy for those 30 families who have been successful, but I’ve not forgotten those who have missed out – the fight for fairness goes on.”

An Oldham Council spokesperson confirmed funding has been secured to introduce around 30 bays this year across the borough.

The application and site assessments have been completed and the council will be writing to the applicants to confirm the exact position of each bay and then commence the Traffic Regulation Order procedures.

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