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Disabled drivers attack Witney street parking ban
DISABLED people have hit out at council chiefs over new restrictions in Witney that stop them parking within reach of shops.
The new rules ban all cars from loading or unloading in High Street between Welch Way and Corn Street and stop blue badge holders from parking on the double yellow lines.
Oxfordshire County Council said the rules were brought in to tackle congestion caused by vehicles parking along the road.
But two disabled people said the ban means they are no longer able to get to town centre chemists and shops.
They said disabled parking bays in Marriotts Walk Shopping Centre and Witan Way were too far away.
Ian Calcutt, 71, of Madley Park in Witney, was left disabled after he contracted the flesh-eating disease necrotising fasciitis in his left leg.
His 27-year-old son, Matthew, has cerebral palsy and his wife, Elaine, 59, suffers from diabetes.
The family used to park in front of Boots and the Co-op in High Street to visit the chemist and go shopping a couple of times a week.
Mr Calcutt said: “Everything is being taken away from people with disabilities. My freedoms are gradually being taken away.
“I still go into Witney but now we have to go with someone else who can drop us off and drive around the town a couple of times before picking us up.”
Sandy Slack, who suffered a spinal injury 35 years ago, said: “I am still gobsmacked they have done it.
“It is going to have an enormous impact on an everyday level. We have had an invaluable space on High Street for the last 35 years.”
She added: “There is excellent disabled parking in Marriotts Walk and Witan Way, but they are too far away from the High Street for manual wheelchair users.”
The 68-year-old, who lives in Corn Street, has an electric wheelchair but she cannot use it in the rain or during cold weather and it does not fit in her car.
County council spokesman Owen Morton said: “Loading ban restrictions have recently been extended to a section of existing double yellow lines on Witney High Street between Welch Way and Corn Street.
“The effect of the loading restrictions is to keep this section of road clear of waiting and loading at all times.
“This includes blue badge holders, who would otherwise be legally entitled to park on double yellow lines for up to three hours.
“However, it must be stressed this is not a case of removing designated disabled parking spaces.”
He said there were more than 50 disabled spaces in nearby off-street car parks.