Store U-turn on charges for disabled parking

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MORPETH’S new supermarket has changed its parking policy following complaints from disabled drivers.

The town’s new Morrison’s store off Dark Lane came in for criticism from some shoppers as there was no concession in its short-stay car park for disabled drivers, who can normally park free with a Blue Badge.

Customers said it was not an issue of cost, but of mobility in having to reach ticket machines, return to their cars to display the tickets, then get to the store entrance.

However, the supermarket has now apologised over the issue and changed its policy to provide free parking for Blue Badge holders.

Store General Manager Keith Nicholson said: “Firstly, we’d like to apologise that we did not introduce free parking for Blue Badge holders sooner. However, having listened to local residents we have now changed the policy so that people with a Blue Badge can park for free.

“We want our stores to be accessible for everyone so are happy to change this.”

There has also been criticism that the underground long-stay car park, run by Northumberland County Council, does not offer disabled access to the store.

A council spokeswoman said: “Whilst Northumberland County Council is responsible for the day-to-day management of the long-stay underground car park, the car park was designed by the developer and is owned by Morrisons.

“The long-stay car park provides all day parking for the town and was not envisaged for short-term use by shoppers at the store. There is a short-stay surface car park, which allows level access into the supermarket, managed by a private enforcement company, not the council.”