Brentwood: Concerns over delay in blue badge renewals
�Brentwood Lib Dem county councillors have criticised the authority over the delays some residents have had applying for blue badge disabled parking permits.
Essex County Council says the delay arose because permits are issued via a system operated by the Department for Transport, which covers the country, although individual applications are initially processed and reviewed by Essex Cares, which is owned by the council.
Brentwood county councillors David Kendall and Barry Aspinell say the council should have done more to address the problem.
Last year all local authorities were told by the government to stop automatically renewing blue badges from this April.
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People who do not automatically qualify must undergo an Independent Mobility Assessment (IMA) in clinics across the county.
The council anticipates 12,000 assessments will need to be carried out within the next financial year, and has created a temporary amnesty until the end of June for people to use their expired permits without facing fines.
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Brentwood South County Cllr Kendall said: “Whilst I welcome the fact that the county is now looking into the possibility of creating additional temporary capacity to deal with the backlog of assessments and administrative delays, this action should have been taken long before now.
“Many blue badge holders are very vulnerable members of society and the last thing they need is the extra worry and stress that these delays have caused.”
County Cllr John Aldridge, cabinet member for adult social care, said: “We are very concerned about the delays that have occurred in renewing the blue badges under the new arrangements.
“I believe that this amnesty is necessary to ensure that blue badge holders can continue to use their badges whilst the outcome of their application is being determined. We are also improving the process of getting IMA appointments which will mean much shorter waiting times.”