A Bath woman has demanded the immediate removal of barriers that “exclude” blue badge holders from the city centre.
Lynda Lloyd said social distancing rules regulations were scrapped months ago but Bath and North East Somerset Council continues to push an “anti-car agenda”.
Permission for the barriers – aimed at giving people the confidence to return to some of the most crowded parts of Bath after the peak of the pandemic – will expire at the end of December but are set to be replaced by new security measures.
Cheap Street, Westgate Street, Saw Close, Upper Borough Walls and Milsom Street are currently closed to vehicles between 10am and 6pm.
Ms Lloyd urged council bosses to “do the decent thing” so disabled residents can share in the Christmas spirit without having to wait until after dark to drive into the city.
Speaking at the cabinet meeting on 10th November, she said: “[There is] still no access to Bath city centre for blue badge holders.
“The dictionary definition of equality is ‘the state of being equal especially in status rights’ – please can the council explain to me and other blue badge holders how this applies to the continued exclusion of the city centre to blue badge holders, a situation not scheduled to change until January next year?
“This council decided to use discretionary powers to extend the regulation on social distancing for a further six months.
“This is laughable given that all restrictions on mask wearing and social distancing were legally abandoned months ago.
“Who, therefore, are the council seeking to protect by the extension of social distancing regulations? The answer, of course, is no one.”
She said the council was pushing an anti-car agenda so cafes and pubs could put out tables and chairs for their customers, at the expense of people with mobility issues.
“I hope in the spirit of Christmas goodwill the council will remove the barriers during the daytime to allow access to less mobile people to do their Christmas shopping in person, supporting local traders as we’re being urged to do, visit the Abbey Quarter artisan stalls and experience Christmas shopping in daylight rather than having to wait until it’s dark and cold.
“Please listen to this appeal, do the decent thing and lift the barriers tomorrow – you have the power.”
BANES Council has been approached for comment.
Stephen Sumner, Local Democracy Reporter