blue badge holders - pic by Adrian Cable under creative commons licence

A new study shows there is just one disabled parking space for every 66 Blue Badge holders in Cheshire.

The new data was unveiled as the new Blue Badge scheme was launched at the start of this month for people with hidden disabilities who are eligible for a permit.

They study revealed dedicated parking spaces for Blue Badge holders are already at breaking point in the North West.

In Cheshire, the number of blue badge spaces is just 441 while the number of badge holders is now at 28,946. That’s a ratio of 66 to 1.

Cheshire East say the number of marked disabled bays in borough-owned car parks is 285, 34 in Nantwich, and around 102 roadside bays.

The number of fines (parking charge notices) issued in the county in 2018 for misuse of a disabled parking space was 2,760.

New data shows in the North West as a whole there are 50 Blue Badge holders battling for one dedicated council-owned parking space.

And with more people eligible for Blue Badges under the new criteria, this shortage looks set to get worse.

Under the scheme, drivers with hidden disabilities in England will be eligible for a Blue Badge.

Councils in Wales and Scotland have been working to this criteria for a number of years.

Dedicated Blue Badge parking spaces are available for badge holders, as they’re often located closer to entrances or offer more room to get in and out of the car.

However, new data obtained by shows many drivers are abusing this.

In 2018, almost 16,000 parking charge notices were issued to drivers in the North West for wrongly parking in a Blue Badge parking space.

And 74% of local authorities questioned in the study say they do not have any current plans in place to expand the number of spaces.

Almost one in three (30%) drivers surveyed said councils need to extend the number of bays for Blue Badge holders following the increase in applications.

A further one in three (30%) are also confused about which medical conditions would be eligible.

People with invisible conditions, such as anxiety, dementia or Crohn’s Disease, will be able to apply. has compiled the criteria in a guide to applying for a Blue Badge.

The government has updated the eligibility criteria to offer clear and consistent guidelines for councils.

Three in four (75%) drivers with a Blue Badge say they have been forced to park in a standard space because there weren’t any dedicated spaces available.

More than half (58%) of drivers have witnessed it happen, with a fifth (21%) deciding to confront them.

More than two fifths (42%) of those who have wrongly parked in a Blue Badge bay have also been confronted, with most (84%) going on to move their car.

And this isn’t the only punishment they’ve received with one in five (40%) also being fined at least once, with fines amounting to £192, on average.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at, said: “Clearly more parking for Blue Badge holders is needed – 50 Blue Badge holders to one dedicated parking space in the North West is quite a challenge.

“It’s no wonder some of these drivers have had to park elsewhere.

“And the number of people competing for spaces is only going to grow as more people can apply for a Blue Badge now.

“Drivers who misuse these spaces are making the problem even worse. They should be more respectful and leave them free for those who need them.

“If you think you might be eligible for a Blue Badge but are confused about what the criteria is, we’ve outlined the new rules in our guide.

“We always recommend getting in touch with your council for full details.”

A spokesperson for Cheshire East Council said: “Cheshire East Council wishes to ensure that Blue Badge holders can park in council-owned designated parking spaces when they need to do so and are not inconvenienced by unauthorised users of Blue Badges or by motorists who abuse the designated spaces specifically allocated for people with disabilities.

“Currently, the council has 21,129 registered Blue Badge holders and is now experiencing an increase in applications since the qualifying criteria were extended to include other health conditions.

“The council is dealing with 428 applications for both physical and non-visible disabilities, a number of which will also be for renewing the current badge.

“Cheshire East has an appropriate number of disabled parking bays, both in public car parks and at the roadside, while Blue Badge holders can also park on yellow lines where able-bodied users are prohibited from parking.

“The council continues to be sensitive to the needs of Blue Badge holders and will always listen to their concerns and any issues raised.

“!Blue Badge holders can park in any available space if designated spaces are taken up.

“If there is a need to review the number of designated Blue Badge spaces, then the council will do so.”

(Image courtesy of Adrian Cable, under creative commons licence)

One Comment

  1. David Rushbrooke says:

    I am a Blue Badge Holder, and often find it difficult to find a space, ofte because a non-badge holder is occupying it

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