Blue-badge holders lobby to bring back disabled spaces in Broad Street

Picture: ROB CURRIE. (37770992)

BLUE-BADGE holders are campaigning for the return of disabled parking spaces in Broad Street after the road was pedestrianised in 2020.

Jackie Hilton, a former politician and member of the Disability Parking Facebook Group, has requested a meeting with the Infrastructure Minister and the Constable of St Helier to discuss the issue which she said makes disabled Islanders feel “forgotten”.

And the Infrastructure Minister has said he will respond to her request “as soon as possible”.

Broad Street was first pedestrianised in May 2020 to support social distancing in King Street and at the Charing Cross intersection during the pandemic.

In the summer of 2021, ministers agreed to extend the closure following a proposition from St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft – and the disabled bays have not returned since some traffic has been allowed to re-enter.

Only buses and bicycles are currently allowed on the road.

Mrs Hilton said: “With an ageing population the needs of the elderly and disabled will continue to grow and we feel not enough is being done to address the issue of accessible parking spaces to enable the disabled to access the popular areas of shopping provided especially in King Street.

“I’m representing blue-badge holders and the elderly who are not blue-badge holders – these spaces were hugely beneficial for all those who are not so able on their feet.”

She added that she had requested a meeting with ministers so that blue-badge holders could “relay to them the problems that they face on a daily basis, with the hope of being listened to”.

“For some people, including myself, to walk any distance at all with shopping is extremely problematic, so the closer you are to that area, the easier it is,” she explained.

“We’re beginning to feel that we’re a forgotten group of people, and it’s been a great loss since Broad Street has been closed.”

Infrastructure Minister Andy Jehan, who has responsibility for the States road, said: “I have received a request for a meeting with Islanders regarding disabled parking and will respond to that request directly as soon as possible.”

Mr Crowcroft added: “We’re in a state of flux with Broad Street, and it hasn’t developed into the destination that I think it will become after further consultation with the Economic Development Minister and with developments in the area.

“A dozen people per day would benefit from parking on that road, but hundreds of people would benefit from that space as a pedestrianised, alfresco area in town.”

He added that disabled parking spaces lost from Broad Street had been replaced with other spaces elsewhere in town.

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