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Hundreds back disabled parking charge petition

Hundreds of angry campaigners have launched a petition against Stoke-on-Trent City Council's decision to charge disabled drivers to park.

The council has already voted to introduce the charges for Blue Badge holders on its surface car parks in a bid to raise up to £30,000 per year.

The authority has agreed to run a further consultation with disable drivers to find out how they will be affected, but the Stoke-on-Trent Area Network for Disability (Stand) has urged the council to drop the plans altogether.

An online petition, which has been launched by the group to prevent the plan moving forward, has already received 200 signatures from local residents.

The protest comes as the group is already taking legal action against the NHS after disabled drivers made complaints about Blue Badge charges at the nearby Royal Stoke University Hospital.

Speaking to the Stoke Sentinel, Stand secretary Pam Bryan stated that the council's new plans would be devastating for local disabled drivers, suggesting that they would be unable to afford parking in the area.

Group chairman John Beech added: "The car parks will be even emptier as a result of this and will force disabled people to park elsewhere. They're driving people away from the city and, if it goes through, I'll be going to Newcastle because I can park in the disabled bays there for free."

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