FIVE thousand pounds is to be spent creating five disabled bays in a Worcester car park – three years after £250 was spent removing two of them from the same place.
Worcester City Council also estimates that creating the extra bays for blue badge holders in the Cornmarket could result in it losing £31,000 a year in income as they are worried motorists will leave their vehicles in privately-run car parks nearby.
The five spaces are being created as a concession to blue badge holders aggrieved at losing their spots in St Swithin’s Street to a taxi rank despite the fact campaigners say they do not want them as they claim the new location does not provide as good access to shops and banks.
A city council spokes-man said it costs more money to put the bays back in than removing them because the car park will have to be rearranged depending on where disability groups decide the spaces should go following consultation.
At a meeting of the council’s scrutiny committee, Councillor Roger Berry pointed out the fact spaces had not long been removed from the Cornmarket – that formed part of a wider review of disabled parking provision which saw the number of bays for blue badge holders in the centre increased from 36 to 51 in 2008.
Ruth Mullen, corporate director for service delivery at the city council, said: “We have since had a change in circumstances.”
Speaking after the meeting Brian Hunt, of Worcestershire Pension-ers’ Action Group, said: “The cost has got nothing to do with disabled people.
“The council wrongly took away the spaces in the first instance. They are the people who made the mistake.”
In the meeting, Council-lor Paul Denham questioned the council’s estimate that it will lose about £31,000 a year in car parking charges.
“I simply don’t believe that can possibly be the case,” he said. “It is going to be nothing like that.”
The calculation has been made based on the fact seven spaces, which bring in about £4,500 a year each, will be turned into five wider bays for blue badge holders who can park for free while Councillor Marc Bayliss, cabinet member for economic prosperity, said: “The £31,000 is a worst case scenario estimate.
“If people are unable to park in the Cornmarket they will look to park in one of the nearest car parks. At the moment that is St Martin’s Gate car park but the new Lowesmoor car park will be opening soon and we need to be mindful of that.”