Disabled badge holder only sign
Disabled badge holder only sign

by York Labour member Jane Burton

Since June 2020  the Lib Dem/ Green Party coalition who currently hold power in York  closed the foot streets until 8pm and extended the reach of the closures to the very edges of the city centre.

These streets had  previously been open to Blue Badge holders and taxis. Initially, this was to allow for social distancing, then it was to help the economy and now they are saying it is to stop terrorism in the city centre. Of course disabled people do want to support anti terrorism measures, but ant terrorist measures exist in other towns like Bath and Chester and they still allow access for blue badge holders.

Also, not all vehicles are being stopped from going into these areas of York and the Lib Dem/Green Council is allowing access into the streets for many vehicles, who have a waiver.

I think that this latest anti terrorist excuse is a smoke screen that is disguising a policy of a car free city at any cost.

The real cost here is to grandparents who can’t  join their families’ celebrations in city centre restaurants because they can’t walk the long distances that the very late 8pm curfew has imposed on them, parents whose children who are tube fed and are not able to get into town with their children as they need constant access to their vehicles as they hold vital medical equipment, visually impaired people  are now getting lost in unfamiliar streets and are having to call for help, disabled people of all ages are unable to enjoy the very accessible City Screen, unable to access the Post Office in Coney Street, visit their banks, dentists, opticians, hairdresser or favourite shops. It means that if you want to access a Main Post Office you must go to Easingwold, Leeds or Harrogate.

I personally  have been unable to go to any shops in the city centre since March 2020 even though I live on the edge of the city centre. I can no longer go to City Screen to meet friends for a coffee or watch a film. I know that there are a lot of older people are now unable to get to the popular St Sampson’s Centre and that this is increasing their sense of isolation and loneliness. It is an inhumane way to treat people and has led to sadness, frustration and anger for many who are shut out through no fault of their own – disability is not a life style choice.

I am really glad that YLP has spoken out against these draconian measures and will over turn the ban once they are back in power.

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