Liberal Democrat Councillors have put forward an alternative to car parking charges for disabled blue badge holders at Kingston Hospital.
Earlier this week, the Kingston Hospital Foundation Trust (KHFT) announced its intention to re-introduce parking charges for blue badge holders, at a maximum flat rate daily charge of £2. Earlier this year, following pressure from local residents supported by the Lib Dems, the Trust agreed to suspend the charges which had been introduced in January 2018.
At a meeting yesterday of the Health Overview Panel (HOP), comprising Councillors from both parties on Kingston Council, Lib Dem Councillor Sushila Abraham proposed a recommendation allowing blue badges to park free of charge for the first three hours, followed by the £2 flat rate.
The CEO of KHFT, Ann Radmore, agreed to review the Trust's decision and consider the recommendation.
“As part of a Trust-initiated reference group, we have worked diligently for several months to look at ways in which this issue can be resolved through sustainable alternatives,” said Margaret Thompson, Lib Dem Councillor and portfolio holder for Adult Social Care. “Whilst we do not support the Trust's current decision, we appreciate their efforts and willingness to consult with all parties, and to acknowledge the extent of criticism levelled against the charges, especially from blue badge holders, their families and carers.”
“We were initially disappointed that the Trust's executive did not introduce either a free charge or a compromise arrangement of free charge plus flat rate.”
“We are now pleased that the Trust's executive is willing to consider our recommendation. We will be closely monitoring the situation and will continue to work with the Trust and other partners to ensure blue badge holders are not adversely affected.”