Anger at relocation of disabled parking at Blickling Estate
- Credit: Archant
The National Trust has faced criticism after relocating the disabled car parking spaces at the Blickling Estate.
The trust has said the measure was necessary because the site now operates a one-way system for pedestrians due to the pandemic, and the former location of the parking spots meant vehicles had to mix with people on foot when leaving the area.
The change has meant the roughly 15 'blue badge' parking spaces have been moved from a spot next to Blickling's east wing - which includes a cafe, stamp shop, second-hand bookshop and main shop - to the main car park past the Buckinghamshire Arms pub.
Ian Clark, from North Walsham, whose son has Down's Syndrome, said it felt like people with disabilities were being penalised.
Mr Clark said it made access to the east wing "impossible".
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He said: "It means the disabled can no longer access these facilities. In fact, on six of the places they have piled loads of logs to deter any parking. To remove the signage and put logs all over the spaces is disgusting.
"The main car park is too far away for disabled folk and the route is not suitable - there's no way they could get to the places I'm concerned about."
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A spokesman from Blickling Hall said: “We have moved the accessible parking spaces to the main car park where they are now closer to our one-way entrance than the previous bays.
"In order to provide a safe route for our visitors the entrance to the house and garden is via the walled garden and the exit is through the farmyard and along Church Walk; the driveway to the east of the main drive.
"One of the concerns about using this as a pedestrian exit has been the use of that roadway by vehicles, which we’ve mitigated by excluding all public traffic from the drive and keeping it solely for deliveries and for property vehicles.
"We are committed to providing safe access to Blickling Estate for all, especially at this time. We will continue to adapt as the local and national situations develop."
While Blicking Hall itself is closed for visitors, the parkland and gardens remain open, and there is a timed system of entry for the car park. See here for more.