Nearly 30 disabled parking spaces in Aylesbury town centre could be turned into regular pay and display bays under proposals by the cash-strapped county council.
County Hall wants to create 61 new on-street parking spaces by converting 27 existing disabled bays as well as several taxi and loading bays .
The council, which is currently consulting on the plans, says it will boost town centre business and provide much-needed income.
Blue Badge holders will still be able to park free and without time limit in the regular bays – but critics fear it will be nigh-on impossible for them to find a space.
Lib Dem town councillor for Elmhurst, Susan Morgan, who is a carer for a disabled man, said: “It’s bad enough now because there are very limited disabled parking spaces in the town and quite often he will drive around Aylesbury for half an hour looking for one. If they’re changed to pay and display it will be very difficult.”
She said disabled people like to use the bays to access specific shops, rather than parking further away in a car park and using a mobility scooter.
“This will stop disabled people using the town, they will go elsewhere. This is demoralising and degrading to disabled people.”
The council would charge £1 per hour for the spaces, with a maximum stay of two hours.
Locations under consideration include Britannia Street, High Street, Railway Street, Anchor Lane, Buckingham Street, Kingsbury, George Street, Bourbon Street, Rickford’s Hill and the drop-off point outside Aylesbury Railway Station.
The council said it wanted the parking services it operates to ‘at least break even and not be at the expense of the public purse, and this project will help achieve this. Any surplus should be spent on highways initiatives, which is in line with legislation’.
Cabinet member for transport, Mark Shaw, said: “These proposed changes will assist in managing on-street parking in a fair and consistent manner, and help improve the local economy in key parking areas.”
A few on-street disabled parking spaces would remain in High Street (outside M&S), Walton Street (outside the library), Church Street (Buckinghamshire County Museum) and Cambridge Place (cul-de-sac accessed from New Street).
The consultation runs until March 3 and is available on the county council