"Too many people abusing blue badges," says chairman of Northampton disabled peoples' forum.

Carl Weineger and Gillian Rice left the Northampton Disable People's forum to find they had been fined on the only parking spot they could find.

Carl Weineger and Gillian Rice left the Northampton Disable People's forum to find they had been fined on the only parking spot they could find.

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A disabled peoples' group have called for more action to end blue badge abuse.

They say some drivers are using their relatives' badges fraudulently and are taking up parking spaces.

Carl and Gillian's parking fine next to their displayed blue badge.

Carl and Gillian's parking fine next to their displayed blue badge.

It comes as a forum member left the meeting to find he received a parking fine at the only spot he could find in town to park.

"The demand for disabled parking in Northampton is huge," says former council leader and chairman of the Northampton Disabled People's Forum Phil Larratt. "I believe that blue badges are for the people who truly need it. But there's no enforcement in the town and no one's checking to see if the blue badges are deserved or valid."

Blue badges have their owner's photo and detail printed on the back of them. Traffic wardens can ask to see these details to prove the badge is not being used fraudulently.

Councillor Larratt said: "In the past ten years I've been asked to show the reverse of my blue badge exactly once. If no one is checking mine, who's to say people who shouldn't have them aren't being checked either?

The development at St Giles Street included a number of disabled parking spot but the forum say there was a "lack of communication" between the developers and them.

The development at St Giles Street included a number of disabled parking spot but the forum say there was a "lack of communication" between the developers and them.

"It's an offence to show a blue badge if its owner isn't with you. People are using their spouses' and their parents' badges to park where they feel. It's fraudulent and they can have that person's blue badge taken away from them.

"We want the people who deserve them to keep them and use them."

The Northampton Disabled People's Forum met to discuss parking in the town on February 10.

Carl Weineger, from Long Buckby, attended the meeting as part of the British Polio Fellowship.

The Northampton Disabled People's forum met at the guild hall on February 10.

The Northampton Disabled People's forum met at the guild hall on February 10.

He said: "There are too many blue badges and not enough parking.

"You can get a blue badge by having a bad back or because you're old. You can get one with a doctor's letter. It used to only be for the profoundly disabled. We need to tighten the criteria.

"The problem is everyone is so politically correct about disabilities now. Parking wardens don't want to approach someone with a blue badge and ask if they should have one in case they offend someone."

Drivers with blue badges can park on double yellow lines for up to three hours as long as they do not cause an obstruction.

Gillian Rice, 66, drove Carl to the meeting. They had to park on double yellow lines outside of the Northampton Borough Council Guildhall to attend.

She said: "Carl lost the use of one arm and leg to polio. I've seen people park up, put up their blue badges and then literally run into the shops. It irritates me when we can't find a parking space. We can go through every street in town and not find one."

Then, when Carl and Gillian came out of the meeting, they found they had received a £70 parking fine.

Carl said: "Even as we parked up, a traffic warden saw me put up my blue badge and gave me a thumbs up.

"It's outrageous. We drove around the entire town looking for a place to park. Even the new spaces on St Giles Street were full. Then when we find one, they ignore our blue badge and fine us."

Northampton Borough Council spent nearly £3million redeveloping St Giles Street and included a number of disabled parking spaces.

But the forum criticised the development and said there was a "lack of communication" between the developers and the group and that the area was not built with disabled peoples' needs in mind.

Beverly Mennell, who came to the forum from London, said: "There was a colossal amount of money spent on St Giles Street. You would have thought someone would have considered the idea of where disabled people could park.

"The borough council wants more people to come in and have the Northampton experience and that includes disabled people. But they just aren't being given the chance. It's a sad situation."

But chairman Councillor Larratt said: "As someone who has had to come into town in a wheelchair I can say that St Giles Street is far far better than before. They need to work on Spencer Parade next as it is much worse."

Andy Leighton, a highways officer for Northampton County Council, said: "There has been a net increase of blue badges issued over the past seven years.

"We have a parking enforcement team and a hotline people can ring to report blue badge misuse.

"I'd like to thank the forum for bringing these issues to my attention. We are always open to hearing improvements we can make."

John Dale, head of the Northampton Regeneration Team, said: " I'm sorry you feel we didn't do enough for St Giles Street.

"There are plenty of projects coming up across Northampton. I would like to invite the forum to get involved at every stage and help us make our projects as accessible to disabled people as possible."