City drivers battling for blue badge 'lifeline' amid evidence delays

Jean Woollard's blue badge is now three months out of date

Jean Woollard's blue badge is now three months out of date - Credit: Maya Derrick

People have spoken of their increasing frustration having been left in the lurch by a battle to get hold of renewed blue badges.

Jean Woollard, 75, of Abbott Road, Norwich and her husband Michael, 80, are two of many turning to this paper for help having been initially turned down for her badge.

This means much to her despair, Mrs Woollard has been left trying her luck with a badge three months out of date.

Jean Woollard and her husband, Michael

Jean Woollard and her husband, Michael - Credit: Supplied/Maya Derrick

Mrs Woollard explained: "Michael was told he needed a full examination by a GP that isn't his own.

"He got in contact with Age UK but it's taking a long while as I think a lot of people are struggling to get hold of them."

Both Mr and Mrs Woollard have suffered strokes, with Mrs Woollard also struggling with arthritis in her legs.

Mr Woollard is diabetic diabetes and struggles with mobility.

She added: "This blue badge is a lifeline for the both of us.

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"We just have to park where we can but it's incredibly frustrating and inconvenient.

"It has a knock-on effect that many don't realise."

More than 32,000 people currently have a blue badge, Norfolk County Council says.

Jo Willingham, information and advice manager for Age UK Norwich, said the charity is experiencing a consistently high demand for support with limited resources available.

Jo Willingham, information and advice manager, at Age UK Norwich

Jo Willingham, information and advice manager at Age UK Norwich - Credit: Age UK Norwich

"Unfortunately, this sometimes means that some people have a longer wait to receive assistance," she said, adding that Norfolk Citizens Advice and Equal Lives can also help.

She added: "We have been seeing tougher decisions being made with a number of blue badge applications being refused.

"Our understanding is that for obvious physical disabilities that impact mobility, the level of evidence can potentially be simpler but for more ‘hidden’ conditions you might need a report from a specialist."

Jean Woollard with her blue badge, which expired in January 2022

Jean Woollard with her blue badge, which expired in January 2022 - Credit: Maya Derrick

Norfolk County Council spokeswoman said: "We have a tried and tested application process following nationally set eligibility criteria which allows us to carefully assess applications.

"While many applications can be approved based on the evidence provided, we do sometimes need to ask for further evidence from the applicant.

"We would urge anyone who has any questions to contact us so we can provide guidance."