Woman, 74, denied blue badge despite being ‘trapped’ in her car

Matthew Wheatley, Christine Wheatley and Paul Wheatley.

Matthew Wheatley, Christine Wheatley and Paul Wheatley. - Credit: Archant

A 74-year-old who regularly finds herself trapped inside or outside her car has been denied a blue badge.

Christine Wheatley was left with restricted movement after undergoing hip and knee replacements, and often struggles to get in and out of her car.

The woman, from Caister, applied for the badge with the help of her son Paul Wheatley, who hit out at the decision.

He said: "My mother is 74 years old and has been having difficulties getting in and out of the car, to the point where if she has had to park next to another car she has to wait for them to leave so she can open her car door wide enough to get out.

"Mobility-wise, she can walk, just not for any real distances and she isn't very agile. The big challenged is getting in and out.

"She went for the assessment and couldn't get in the car until my brother reversed it so there was enough room to open the door fully.

"We have been told they don't assess the space required but that is ludicrous.

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"I appealed against the decision because there is an anomaly where someone who desperately needs one is turned down."

In an appeal to Norfolk County Council against the decision, Mr Wheatley said: "I am absolutely appalled at the decision yet again not to provide her with the blue badge.

"Should she fall, then the expense on the health services will be much more than a blue badge.

"My parents have been business owners all of their lives and have never asked for a penny.

"Having had a hip replacement and a knee replacement, she cannot get into an average space, yet they do not assess space required in the assessment.

"She finds it difficult to walk long distances but due to her pride she will try her best during assessments rather than showing her weakness."

A spokesperson for Norfolk County Council confirmed space required is not taken into account in assessments as per Department for Transport guidelines for blue badge requests, and an appeal had been accepted, with the case to be reviewed this week.

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