DORSET drivers with a blue badge can now apply for a special permit allowing them to park in council-run car parks for free.
Drivers who meet certain criteria will be able to park in Dorset Council car parks for up to three hours, free of charge, if they are awarded a new Restricted Mobility Car Park Permit (RMCPP).
The permit will need to be displayed alongside their Blue Badge and aims to gives holders more time to complete their shopping and tasks in Dorset towns.
Cllr Ray Bryan, portfolio holder for highways, travel and environment, said: “Some people, because of their mobility, need a little longer to carry out their tasks so our new Restricted Mobility Car Park Permit will give them three hours free parking and more peace of mind when out and about.”
Blue Badge holders who don’t qualify for the RMCPP have also seen a change to their parking, with the introduction of a free one hour’s parking in Dorset Council car parks on top of that purchased.
They will need to purchase a valid parking ticket to qualify so, for example, if they buy 30 minutes’ parking, they can stay for an hour and a half.
Cllr Bryan added: “This change makes parking across our car parks consistent. Previously there were different rules for towns in the former district and borough councils that existed before Dorset Council was formed, and this sometimes caused confusion.
“The free hour for Blue Badge holders on top of their purchased parking offers consistency and fairness across our car parks, and takes into account the extra time an individual may need when shopping or visiting our towns.”
Blue Badge holders can apply for the RMCPP if they receive one of the following:
Higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
10 points or more on the ‘Moving around’ section in the ‘Mobility component’ of Personal Independence payment (PIP)
Higher rate mobility component of Child Disability Payment
War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement
Armed Forces Independence Payment
Alternatively, they will need to provide evidence that the vehicle registered in the name of the person with a disability or their nominated driver’s name is tax exempt.
They can apply online at www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk. Anyone who needs assistance applying can call Dorset Council on 01305 221000.
The RMCPP costs £15 and will expire at the same time as the permit holder’s Blue Badge.
Drivers who live outside the Dorset Council area who meet the criteria can also apply for the RMCPP for use in Dorset Council car parks.