STRUGGLING families have spoken of their anguish in battling through several knock-backs when applying for a disabled parking badge in Bracknell.

People who have applied for Blue Badges have revealed their low confidence in the application process, complained about the assessment, and stressed how vital Blue Badges can be for those with hidden disabilities.

Three members of the public gave evidence at a meeting of the council’s Wellbeing and Finance Overview and Scrutiny Panel, which is reviewing the Blue Badge process.

Lyndsey Collins, who applied for a Blue Badge for her daughter, spoke passionately about how important they can be for families.

She said: “For us it’s about making life as normal as possible, to go out to the shops, to try and integrate her into a society that doesn’t always accept people who are a little different.

“I don’t want to have to stop taking her to the shops or stop taking her on days out because she’s at risk, it sounds a bit dramatic when it’s over a parking application, but that’s the impact it can have on someone’s life, so it’s important other people understand that.”

READ MORE: Bracknell Blue Badge review delayed

When asked how the process can be improved, Lyndsey Collins said: “I think it’s really important for them to go out of their way to understand the situation that one person is in, and the positive impact that Blue Badge can have on that person’s life, and the possibilities it then opens for that person to be able to go out and about more and try and live a normal life.

“I think life for some people with disabilities will never be normal, but if there’s things we can do as a society to support that then we need to make sure that person is at the forefront of what we are doing.”

She has applied for a Blue Badge on two occasions. Her first application was rejected, and is currently appealing the second rejection. On her second application, she rated her confidence that it would be approved at 2/10.

Both Lyndsey Collins and Keri Bradley, another witness, complained about how brief the Blue Badge assessment was.

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Mrs Bradley explained that the assessment involved walking the length of her front drive and walking back, and answering a number of questions over the phone. According to Mrs Bradley, the assessment was not filmed. Her application was refused following the assessment.

Councilllor Temperton (Labour) asked: “Did your refusal letter explain that you had the right to appeal?” Keri replies: “I don’t remember reading that, no.”

Cllr Tullett asks: “How well did the reasons for refusal help you understand the decision?” Keri says: “Well, it was based on one particular day and on that day I was fine, so it didn’t really affect me in my true day to day life. The day I was assessed was a good day.”

Cllr Malcolm Tullett (Conservative) asked Mrs Bradley whether she felt she had to ‘make up’ elements of her application.  She said: “Yeah, almost. You do feel like you’ve got something to prove, that you’re not believed. Most of the time, I’m ok, but when I’m not a Blue Badge would be essential to keep the house running.”

Cllr Tullett then asked: “Do you think you would have got it if it had been a bad day?” Mrs Bradley answered: “Yeah probably, because on a bad day I can’t walk the distance. I don’t move, I don’t do anything, I get looked after by my mum, my husband and my children.”

READ MORE: Bracknell officials grilled over Blue Badge application process

Another witness, Christine Farry, applied on behalf of a physically disabled man.

Christine Farry praised the application process, calling it a ” marvellous scheme” and stating that the council had done “a fantastic job.” She did suggest that “a special card be made up” while applicants are waiting for their Blue Badges to be processed. Cllr Isabell Mattick (CON) said: “I know how reliant some people are, believe me I do understand. If it’s delayed in anyway it can lead to a great deal of anguish.”

You can see the meeting as it unfolded by following the tweet thread below:



The meeting was held on Wednesday, April 28, via Zoom.

The Wellbeing and Finance Overview and Scrutiny Panel must submit its findings and recommendations, if any, by Wednesday, May 12.