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Good news for disabled drivers after forest chiefs' U-turn
1:00pm Sunday 16th February 2014 in New Forest News
CIVIC chiefs have dropped controversial plans to make disabled drivers pay to park in the New Forest.
Cabinet members have approved proposals to freeze parking charges for another 12 months and to continue not to charge Blue Badge owners.
New Forest District Council also announced plans to replace car parking meters and introduce a swipe card system to make parking in the New Forest easier.
A report to the district council’s ruling cabinet stated that Cllr Paul Vickers, Cabinet member for planning and transport, considered it would be an “unreasonable” change in the current economic climate.
The plans to introduce the charges in council-run car parks in a bid to boost the council’s annual income by at least £75,000 were revealed last year.
The charges were criticised by groups like Age Concern and New Forest Access for All and it even saw two Conservative councillors, Chris Lagdon and Ron Scrivens defect to UKIP in protest.
Council leader Barry Rickman said: “I’m very pleased we made the decision. It’s good for residents, good for businesses and the tourist industry and good for the disabled.”