AN ASCOT mum who was told she couldn’t have a “life-changing” Blue Badge for her autistic son has had the decision overturned by the council.

Roma Collingwood asked Bracknell Forest Council (BFC) for a disabled parking permit for her son Hayden in January this year but she received a letter informing her the application had been refused in May following a "shocking" application process.

She told the News why she needed the permit — which allows parents to park nearer to where they are heading — for ten-year-old Hayden, who also has ADHD.

EXCLUSIVE: The council is refusing more hidden disability blue badge applications than it is approving

“It’s extremely hard”, she said.

“A few times I’ve had to park quite far away and sometimes Hayden won’t co-operate with me, he won’t come out of the car or he’ll run having got out of the car.

Bracknell News:

“For me, to have a badge it means I can park close to his school and it gives me peace of mind that I’m close to him should I need to be anywhere without him.

“For me, it’s all about his safety. That’s the most important thing. And it’s for other people. When he does run into the road, he’s fast, so if he were to run in front of a car, that affects other people’s lives as well.”

Initially, Roma’s application was refused by BFC.

READ MORE: Autistic man refused new blue badge despite having had one for 18 years previously

The mother told the News she was “appalled” and “outraged” by the “shocking” handling of her application after being “fobbed off” having repeatedly made calls to the council for an update on the case in the four months it took assessors to make a decision.

She said Hayden’s mental health nurse sent a letter in support of his Blue Badge application in late April, shortly before she was told her plea had been rejected.

But two weeks ago Roma received another message from the council, informing her the application had been overturned and she could have a Blue Badge.

Bracknell News:

Melanie O’Rourke, Assistant Director of Adult Social Care at BFC, explained: “Our assessors have to base their decisions on the information provided, and the initial blue badge application submitted by Ms Collingwood was refused on the basis of the reports given by healthcare professionals.

“However, during the review stage, a healthcare professional, a contact provided by the applicant, was able to provide subsequent information which led to the application being successful.”

For a long time, Roma feared she was one of the 58 per cent of people who had seen an application for a Blue Badge submitted on behalf of a person with a hidden disability refused by the council since August 2019, as revealed by the News.

READ MORE: Mum 'devastated' after Blue Badge permit refused

Other parents who have been refused blue badges have told of their frustration at the lack of communication from the council in the Blue Badge application process.

Roma added: “The day I called asking to speak to the assessor after receiving the refusal of the Blue Badge, I was told he would call. I still, to this day, have not had a call, despite me being on the phone, almost weekly since that day.

“In my very honest opinion, I should not have had to keep contacting the council to ask when I was going to get the call back from the assessor — the blue badge was very important for the safety of my son and I reminded the council of this every time I made a call.

“It took from May to July to get a new, life-changing, decision.”