Reading parking restrictions in town centre – disabled bay anger

A Reading dad has called for driving restrictions in the town centre to be removed so that he can shop with his son.

Daniel Henwood, 47, from Shinfield, recently got fined for driving through a bus lane.

He has a blue badge for his son, who was diagnosed with autism since age three and is now 14 years old.

They typically use disabled bays in St Mary’s Butts, Oxford Road, and West Street.

Mr Henwood was hit with the fine for driving in St Mary’s Butts during a restricted time, with access being restricted only to buses, wheelchair accessible taxis, and motorbikes between 7am and 11am, and 4pm to 7pm Monday to Sunday.

READ MORE: Reading man’s anger at driving fine while trying to leave father’s home 

Although the fine was cancelled after an appeal, he has argued that he is unable to access disabled bays in Oxford Road and West Street without going through St Mary’s Butts, which is restricted.

Mr Henwood said: “The only one that allows regular vehicles is St Mary’s Butts, the others are blocked at certain times

“It’s only for buses, taxis and motorbikes, that’s it, no blue badge holders.

“It’s great that we have those disabled parking bays, but ludicrous that they are restricted.

“They’ve restricted how you can get to them, only one out of three is accessible throughout the day.

“My son is autistic and has sensory issues, so we want to go in during quieter periods, but that’s when restrictions are in place.

“It’s daft. The spaces have clearly been set up as an improvement by the council’s SEND team, but for them to be restricted, it’s nuts, it’s daft.

“They need to sort out the access, either remove the restrictions or add blue badge users to those who are allowed access.”

READ MORE: The times Reading’s parking enforcement car caught drivers out

A spokesperson for the council said that the restrictions will not be removed.

The spokesperson said: “Access restrictions were introduced in the town centre in 2011 in preparation for the major redevelopment of Reading Station into the modern, successful new station we know today.

“They were introduced to improve and strengthen the existing access and pedestrian zone restrictions in the town centre by creating a safer and healthier environment for pedestrians and road users during the busy peak hours by improving air quality and the reliability of public transport, which Reading relies on heavily.

“The removal of these restrictions would open up rat-runs and negate the benefits.

“Whilst the access restriction in St Mary’s Butts operates between 7am to 11am and 4pm to 7pm, most areas of disabled parking spaces are still accessible during these times.

“There are over 200 on-street spaces available to blue badge holders in the central area, including some designated disabled bays and pay and display spaces which are free to blue badge holders.

“There are also many disabled parking bays within the off-street town centre car parks which are accessible at all times.

“The Broad Street Mall Car Park provides a number of blue badge spaces immediately adjacent to St Mary’s Butts.

“The revised access restrictions prevent disabled motorists from using the designated parking bays in St Mary’s Butts, West Street and Friar Street at peak times but blue badge parking available at all times in Blagrave Street, Oxford Road, St Mary’s Butts, Kings Road, Abbey Square, Forbury Road near the Crown Court, Castle Street, Greyfriars Road, the Pay and Display areas in Valpy Street, Kings Road, Abbey Street, Castle Street and Cheapside, and all Town Centre car parks including a shop mobility scheme offered by The Oracle.

“Information about blue badge parking in Reading is available on our website.”

Reading Chronicle | Town Centre