CHANGES are set to be made at two popular Aylesbury town-centre car parks which will make them easier to use for disabled drivers.

Buckinghamshire Council is pushing ahead with plans to upgrade its payment machines at Upper Hundreds and Walton Street multi-storey car parks.

Pay on foot machines will make way for pay and display machines at both Aylesbury sites.

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A council report read: “Changing the payment methods also provides greater flexibility and is more user friendly for customers with disabilities who are in receipt of a Blue Badge.

“Currently, Blue Badge holders are required to take their badge to the office in Upper Hundreds car park to have their parking validated.

Bucks Free Press:

“In Walton Street, the car park is unstaffed and therefore Blue Badge holders are required to pay to park if they wish to use this car park.

“The limitations for Blue Badges is due to the barrier controlled system which supports the current pay of foot payment methods.

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“Pay and display operations will enable Blue Badge holders to park for free, as per the other car parks in Aylesbury, without the inconvenience of seeking assistance for car park validation.”

The report stated the new machines will be introduced because the existing equipment is “old” and “repeatedly breaks down”, which is “costly” and “creates inconvenience” for customers.

Buckinghamshire Disability Service welcomed the move.

A spokesperson said: "BuDS has been aware of the problems for disabled people at these car parks for some time and we asked [The old Aylesbury Vale District Council] to do something about it, without success.

"We are very pleased that Buckinghamshire Council are now putting things right. It is little things like this that can make disabled people's lives more difficult or easier.

"We also welcome Buckinghamshire Council's continued commitment to free parking for Blue Badge holders."

Responses from a consultation on the planned changes showed some drivers wanted to retain the option to pay by cash.

One said: “It is not always easy to gauge how much parking time is required.

“The previous payment option enabled customers to pay on return and only for actual time on park via machines that gave change.

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“This meant there was no need for paper for the tickets.”

A response from a council officer indicated customers can also top up their parking time using the RingGo mobile app without the need to return to the car park.

The decision to upgrade the car parks was made on Thursday, October 15.