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Thousands of disabled drivers forced to pay for parking
5:21pm Wednesday 6th March 2013 in News
THOUSANDS of disabled drivers will have to pay to use council-owned car parks in the New Forest, the Daily Echo can reveal.
Controversial plans to scrap the free parking enjoyed by Blue Badge holders have been given the go ahead - despite strong opposition to the scheme.
A survey carried out by the district council showed that 86 per cent of Blue Badge owners in the Forest were against having to pay.
But members of the council's ruling Cabinet have approved the scheme, which aims to boost the authority's annual income by about £75,000.
Charges for Blue Badge holders are likely to be introduced next year once the necessary legal process has been completed.
The change will affect about 10,000 Forest residents, plus disabled visitors to the district.
They will have to buy a ticket every time they use a council-owned car park, which will mean paying between 80p and £4 in places such as Lymington.
Alternatively they can buy an annual parking permit for £100 or £20, depending on whether they want to use long or short-stay spaces.
A report to councillors said the permits - known as parking clocks - enabled motorists to park all year round for just £2 a week.