BLUE badge holders are crying foul over a Sheffield Council decision to reserve supermarket car parking spaces for expensive new low-emission vehicles when there are not enough parking places for disabled people.
ASDA says it was forced to set spaces aside at its Handsworth store for ‘green vehicles’ which can cost £18,000 or more. It was a condition of planning consent by the city council when the car park was altered.
Linda Hanley, who shops with her disabled mother Angela Allcock, aged 86, from Stradbroke, said: “I understand a lot of people have complained about this policy. For the last three weeks of going shopping at the store we have not been able to find a space in the disabled area when my mum struggles to get from the car park into the store.
“She can get by with a stick some days. Other times I have to push her in a wheelchair.
“But while we have to park on the other side of the car park and have difficulty getting to the store, these spaces for green vehicles are empty.
“Why are those drivers who can afford a green car being given priority?”
The low-emission spaces are reserved for cars which produce less than 120 grammes per km of carbon dioxide: cars like the £18,000 Toyota Prius.
Cheaper models available include the Citroen C1 or Kia cee’d cars but they cost £7,000 at a time when ordinary families are feeling the pinch. Few used cars meet the emissions standard.
An ASDA spokeswoman said: “We are always working to reduce carbon emissions in our stores, but the low emission car spaces in our Sheffield Supercentre were a requirement of the planning permission from the council.
“In terms of disabled spaces in the car park, we always want to make provision for our customers with specific parking requirements and have increased the number of disabled spaces.
“Prior to the refurbishment work that saw the low emission spaces introduced we had 26 disabled parking spaces in our car park and this has now been increased to 30 spaces.”
David Caulfield, head of planning at Sheffield Council, said: “There are more disabled parking spaces now than before. There is no reason why ASDA can’t increase the number of disabled spaces even further.
“The green spaces were a requirement in order that ASDA could address on-site congestion issues, as well as air quality concerns from local residents. They account for only 1.4 per cent of the whole car parking facility at the superstore.”
Before the car park was extended there were 616 customer car parking spaces, including disabled and parent and child spaces. Another 86 customer car parking spaces were added.