A SALTCOATS Blue Badge holder has blasted the pedestrianisation of Dockhead Street for “taking away disabled people’s rights” and could result in them losing their benefits.

The pensioner, who wished to remain anonymous, criticised the council’s decision to close off the street to all vehicles between 9.30am and 4.30pm every day.

The 62-year-old, who suffers from severe arthritis, currently parks her car on the street on her weekly shop, then moves it forward along her shopping route to save her walking distances between stores.

To meet the criteria for a Blue Badge, drivers must show that they cannot walk beyond 50 metres. The Saltcoats pensioner worries that the new restrictions will force disabled drivers to walk more than 50 meters to the shops and could result in them losing their badge.

She said: “I’m really upset about it. This is taking away people’s rights. I can’t shop now.

“I’m not fit to walk from the car park behind the bank [Vernon Street] and I’m sure that car park is more than that [50 meters away].

“If I’m seen to be able to walk into the town, my Blue Badge could be taken off me. They’ve not looked into this properly. People are going to lose their Blue Badges – and their mobility allowance as well.

“I like to go into the town, it lets me get out. Now they’re taking away that right. I’m already restricted to where I can go but now, I can’t go anywhere.”

Councillor Jean McClung said: “I am sorry to hear that Linda has concerns about the changes to parking in Dockhead Street. The decision to ask for a change to the current traffic management order was taken by the people of the Three Towns who responded to a survey carried out by Saltcoats Community Council, myself and colleagues.

“The overwhelming view was that, in the interests of public safety, Dockhead Street, which already is a designated Pedestrian Area, should be traffic-free for the greater part of the day. This was a democratic decision. At no time did those conducting the survey make their own views known, as it was important to all those involved that any consequent action should reflect what the majority of people wanted.

“I believe one life saved or serious injury avoided will have made the whole exercise worthwhile.

“I would be happy to speak to Linda regarding the concerns she has expressed and do what I can to help address them.”