Edinburgh council accused of ‘stealing’ disabled parking spaces during festival

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Disabled activist Finlay Craig said he must have missed a show he had planned to attend because he couldn’t get close enough to the venue to park.

And he claimed that the lack of available spaces meant that people with disabilities were excluded from full enjoyment of the capital’s artistic extravaganza.

He said: “Edinburgh City Council is just stealing the spaces to earn a few shillings. They are deliberately ‘selling’ the rights of people with disabilities to live and take part in Edinburgh’s many festivals.

“At least five disabled parking spaces have been closed on George Street to be replaced by a useless outdoor area for eating and drinking.”

He said much of the street outside the meeting rooms had been taken over for people to sit down and have coffee or refreshments.

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The disabled bays outside the George Street meeting rooms are out of service during the festival.

“By leasing to commercial organizations parts of the streets where blue badge holders were allowed to park, the town hall is showing its lack of respect for people with disabilities.”

Mr Craig, who lives in the Borders, said he had been to the Festival several times already this year. “During the jazz festival I went to two events but a third event I just couldn’t get close enough to park so couldn’t go. Around George Square and the university , there are four or five disabled bays marked but you can’t get to them because the road is closed.

“Every time I say I’m going to the Festival, the first thing everyone says is ‘Where are you going to park?’ The municipality must answer: why did you reduce PMR spaces during the Festival and why don’t you have more? Because if 10% of the population is disabled and the population in general is aging, it goes against current and it’s not fair.

“Given this is an international festival and you want to show the best of Scotland, the assumption that people don’t need disabled parking is quite shocking. As a capital , I think Edinburgh is doing a very poor job on behalf of Scotland.”

Workers are rolling out the green grass to turn the disabled parking lot into an outdoor area for eating and drinking.

He said people with disabilities who complained about the lack of parking spaces were often reminded that blue badge holders could park for free in paid parking areas. But he said those spaces were rarely wide enough for people with reduced mobility to get in and out easily. “There just isn’t enough space to open the doors to get in and especially where there is parking in the center of the street, if, as I have to, you pull a disabled scooter out of the car. ‘back of the car, so you’re in the middle of the road doing it.

“When you close a road in order to make money selling it for a food court, I think that’s a shame and you don’t care about people with disabilities.”

Scott Arthur, Head of Transport and Environment, said: “As the new Head of Transport, I have looked very carefully at how the Festival operates in the city and I want us to learn from it and tame the worst. aspects.”

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