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Campaigners in demo against disabled driver restrictions

Campaigners in demo against disabled driver restrictions
31st August 2021 Ian Streets

Campaigners against proposals to restrict disabled drivers’ access to the centre of historic York staged a demonstration outside the city council’s headquarters.
But The York Press reported that plans to stage non-violent direct action to block access to offices and disrupt council services were dropped after they discovered disabled people were going there that day – to be assessed for their right to blue badges.
Gordon Campbell-Thomas, of the York Equal Access Campaign(YEAC), told the newspaper he chained himself to a railing but moved so as to let disabled drivers through.
He said: “It just happened to be the same day as disabled people were going for blue badge assessment. Ironic wasn’t it?
“It would have been unworthy of YEAC to block off access to the council offices to disabled people as the council have blocked the city centre to people with disabilities.
“YEAC decided to make the demo symbolic but also decided to come back another week.”
Mr Campbell-Thomas told the York Press earlier this month that the event was a chance for disabled people and non-disabled allies to come together to show the council it “couldn’t arbitrarily disregard the human rights enshrined in law by banning blue badge holders from the city centre.”
The council said then it had already reinstated blue badge access to one area of the city centre, provided additional badge parking and proposed more on the edge of the centre.
It was also looking at proposals which would significantly improve access for disabled residents, including making car parks more accessible and changes to the hours for footstreets, where vehicle access is restricted. hours.
A council spokesperson told the paper: “The footstreets proposals are part of the most extensive review of accessibility in the city centre since the footstreets were established. Engagement with disabled residents and other groups is at the heart of this review.
“Extensive engagement last year helped us better understand the wide range of access needs – including the benefits of the removal of vehicles to many disabled people – to create an inclusive, thriving and safe city centre.”

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