Legal Challenge (2013)

Our court date is in January 2014 at the High Court.

October 2013

Essex County Council made the decision to put back in place parts of the scheme, which include a 24 hour bus lane into Queen Street from the High Street, a bus lane on North Hill (going up) and a third one on Middleborough to prevent traffic from turning to go up North Hill.

Thursday 21st March 2013

We have a launched a petition to ask Essex County Council and Colchester Borough Council to hold a genuine consultation.  Please sign it and share with your friends.

The story makes the front page of the Colchester Gazette.

Wednesday 20th March 2013

Fair Access to Colchester launch a legal challenge to the trial.  BBC News and the Colchester Gazette break the news.

Other Groups

We aren’t the only group impacted by this change. Shops, residents, schools and many others are too.  Find out more at the Save Colchester Town website.

The Legal Challenge

Fair Access to Colchester has instructed Unity Law to commence Statutory
Review proceedings against Essex County Council following their decision to
introduce an experimental traffic order which essentially locks Blue Badge
Holders out of Colchester town centre.

The council’s decision to introduce the order will adversely impact 15% of
Colchester’s population whom it is said have a disability or long-term health
condition.*In addition to affecting Blue Badge holders in the area, the
change will also affect the large number of tourists and those visiting from
surrounding villages and coastal towns. The roads affected by the new traffic
order include the High Street, North Hill, Head Street and the Dutch Quarter.

Until the recent change, Blue Badge holders have been able to park directly
outside shops and facilities providing them with much needed access to the
banks, post office and shops. The changes mean that disabled people will be
expected to travel longer distances, over steeper gradients to access the town
centre.

Jade Hamnett, the lead claimant in the case and Chair of Fair Access to
Colchester says, “It’s really difficult to comprehend how far the new spaces
are until you’re personally struggling with pain, breathlessness, fatigue or
similar. Our concerns over the changes have not been taken on board, and we
now feel like we aren’t welcome in our own town. It’s increased the burden on
carers, reduced independence and caused a lot of unnecessary worry.”

The legal team includes specialist disability rights lawyer Lucy Angus, of Unity
Law who has experience of launching legal challenges of this nature,

“The decision is irrational. The Council issues Blue Badges to disabled
motorists in recognition that their mobility is severely restricted. Why then
ignore that and require disabled tax payers to park so far away that they
cannot physically access central amenities?

This is not the first time that we have challenged a local authority for
discriminating against the disabled. We hope that by launching this legal
challenge, we will force the Council to reverse its decision and make changes
to accommodate blue badge holders”

The Letter of Claim was served on Essex County Council on 19th March to
which the Council have 7 days to reply. The challenge seeks to achieve a new
and rigorous consultation and a re-assessment of the needs of the disabled
people who use the town centre.

We would still like to hear from you on issues that you have encountered during
the start of the trial please get in touch by emailing us at info@fa2c.org.

You can also read about the town centre protest that took place here.