NEW charges that will hit disabled residents across Dudley are an absolute disgrace, a disabled resident has said.

The charges brought by Dudley Council would see disabled residents charged £100 for an assessment to see whether they were eligible for a disabled parking space.

In addition to this, a further £10 will be required every time this was renewed in line with their blue badge.

Karl Denning, who is blind and owns a blue badge himself, said the charges will target the most vulnerable at the worst time and leave them stuck inside as they won’t be able to park outside their own homes.

Dudley News: Karl DenningKarl Denning

Mr Denning said: “I do quite a lot with disabled in the area and I know they will all struggle to be honest. The cost of living crisis has hit disabled people really hard.

“I’ve spoken to a range of people with various disabilities and I am blind myself. I live the lifestyle and I understand it. There are a lot of people with disabilities who I speak to who are not putting their heating on, they’re barricading themselves into one room.

“They’re making a flask of tea so they don’t have to go out of the room very often. Some of these people have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which as you can imagine is the worst thing you can have in a cold home.

“The council want to add an extra £100 and I just know that people won’t be able to afford it, it’s an absolute disgrace. As a result of this use of the car will become really difficult for them because they can’t park right outside their house.

“You can’t expect disabled people to stop inside their own cold homes all winter.”

Councillors have raised concerns that this is an unnecessary added cost to residents who are struggling, not only at the moment due to the cost of living, but generally when they have health problems and disabilities, without an added £100 plus costs for simple parking spaces.

Keiran Casey, councillor for Castle and Priory and shadow cabinet member for highways, said: “This decision to me is a disgrace, charging disabled residents £100 just to see whether they are eligible for a parking space”.

The issue was raised at a meeting of Dudley Council last week.

In response, Councillor Steve Clark said: “We’ve got 7.7 million pounds of extra support. We’ve got the energy bills rebate, we are doing our job for the residents of Dudley.”