A PENSIONER has criticised ‘cruel’ council policies which left her without a blue badge.
Florence Matthews, 87, had to be reassessed for her blue badge in June.
She was shocked when she was told she was no longer eligible for the badge, despite having had two hip replacements, being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and suffering from crippling osteoporosis.
“It is retarding your health and wellbeing in your dying days,” she said.
“It is cruel to take it out on elderly people just because some people abuse the system.
“They should catch the people abusing the system, not take it out on us.”
Mrs Matthews lives in Saxon Meadow, Tangmere, and said the loss of her blue badge stopped her attending chiropodist and other medical appointments in Chichester.
“It is not the clerks I am against, it is the policy of West Sussex County Council and the government,” she said.
“They are following the letter of the law, but the law is very unfair and cruel to people like us.”
Her situation was made worse when her husband was diagnosed with ‘squashed’ spine syndrome in August, leading to a stay in hospital and ongoing mobility and pain issues.
“We can’t get out anywhere in Chichester because there is nowhere to park,” she said.
“I have had an ongoing battle about this blue badge and apparently I am not the only one.
“It is a big issue when you are older and approaching the end of your life. It is a big issue for people living in outlying villages when you can’t go into town for appointments.”
A council spokesman said he could not comment on specific cases, but West Sussex had a revised scheme, following ‘government guidance and best practice’ to ensure people met eligibility criteria.
“This ensures only those who need a blue badge get one, thereby making more space available for people in genuine need,” he said.
“In general, badges can only be issued to people who have a permanent and substantial disability that causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking.”
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