Opinions divided on council cutting disabled badges
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Sutton Council has slashed the number of disabled blue parking badges it issues by two thirds since the end of last year.
At the end of 2011 there were 6062 of the badges being used by disabled people in Sutton to allow them to park in designated bays.
But between January and September this year the number had fallen to 1846.
The reduction in the number of badges being issued follows stricter guidelines for councils to issue the badges, and has divided opinion.
Campaigners against the abuse of the blue badge system welcomed the figures.
Helen Dolphin, a quadruple amputee and a director of Disabled Motoring UK, said there is competition for blue badge car parking spaces and the severely disabled should get priority.
She said: "Just because somebody is old and has had a badge for a long time doesn't mean they should automatically get one."
"People have been abusing the system and getting the badges because they have a limp, I'm glad that councils are now applying the letter of the law. We simply can't give blue badges to everyone."
War Hero Roy Hamilton, 81, who was told earlier this year he did not qualify for having a blue badge as he walked to well, despite having one for five years and suffering numbness in his legs, thrombosis and having a heart condition, said the council was being too strict.
After being refused, he will now have to wait until December until he can apply again.
He said: "I just feel like I'm wasting time if I apply again. There are people worse off than me, I just think Sutton Council is being too strict. It used to be difficult to get a parking spot even with a blue badge, now I see a lot of empty disabled bays when the rest of the car park is full."
A spokesman for Sutton Council said:“In January 2012 Blue Badges changed to a national scheme and the department of Transport issued new guidelines.
"London Borough of Sutton, in common with every other local authority, simply has the assessments carried out on our behalf in accordance with Department of Transport rules."