Comment: Badge of dishonour
Nov 8 2008 by Val Javin, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
THE BLUE badge parking system is a boon to those who have difficulty getting about.
It can open up their whole world, giving them back the independence many of us take for granted but which for people with health problems and disabilities is one of the biggest side-effects of their condition. Losing their health is bad enough, losing their ability to have a least some taste of normality by getting out and about is quite another.
So to hear that motorists, one of them from Huddersfield and one, would you believe it, a solicitor, were fined in court in Manchester yesterday for the most flagrant breaches of the system imaginable, is downright shocking.
Take the chap from Huddersfield, Brett Hobbs. He’s an engineer from Golcar who parked in the centre of Manchester using a blue badge permit belonging to his mother-in-law - who is dead.
Then there’s Shaob Panwar, a solicitor from Greater Manchester who used his grandmother’s badge to park his black Audi TT in the city centre in August.
Both these parking cheats came up with stories about their relatives to try and justify using badges to which the courts decided they were not entitled.
And that’s the problem. A system meant as a lifeline to help people whose mobility is restricted for one reason or another, is being blatantly used by able-bodied people and usually, those who should know better.
The situation is getting worse in Manchester according to council officials and no doubt the same story would apply here in Huddersfield. The bottom line is that the blue badge system is a necessary one and a good one as long as people stop abusing it.
And if they don’t stop, then let them be warned – council officers and courts are clearly taking a dim view of those who misuse the system and prosecuting.