Council bosses have apologised after the Lord Mayor’s limousine was spotted parked in York’s footstreets – just weeks after blue badge holders were banned from doing so.
Ben Phillips spotted the vehicle parked on double yellow lines in Goodramgate at 6.30pm on Sunday.
He said: “I just thought it really summed up City of York Council and their general behaviour in all ways – and the arrogance and disdain they have shown to those with accessibility issues.”
Blue badge holders were until recently exempt from the ban on vehicles being inside the city’s footsteets.
But the council’s executive last month voted to remove the exemption, which caused uproar in the disabled community and beyond.
The council said the move was necessary to bring in new counter-terrorism measures.
‘Second class citizens’
York Disability Rights Forum said of the photo: “Further confirmation that disabled people and blue badge holders are seen as second class citizens by City of York Council.”
Dr Mick Phythian of York Accessibility Action told David Dunning on YorkMix Radio: “It’s a bit like the current goings on in Downing Street. It’s one rule for them, one rule for us.”
York Accessibility Action has been campaigning for blue badge holders to be allowed access again to Goodramgate and other footstreets since they were excluded due to Covid regulations last year.
“Maybe the Lord Mayor didn’t know about it, but the fact that his chauffeur was permitted through when blue badge holders aren’t, and the fact that they are still allowing numbers of other vehicles to go through while excluding blue badge holders, shows it’s complete disability discrimination,” Dr Phythian said.
“One of our members has also had to complain about the council’s contractors dealing with the Guildhall blatantly ignoring the rules there as well. So it is a case of one rule for them, one rule for us.”
The vehicle was not in use by the civic party on Sunday evening and engagements inside the footstreets zone were always made on foot, the Lord Mayor Reverend Councillor Chris Cullwick said.
A charity Christmas dinner with the Lord Mayor was being held at Mansion House at 7pm that evening.
Janie Berry, director of governance at City of York Council, said: “We are sorry the civic car entered footstreets at Goodramgate on Sunday evening, 5th December.
“It should not have done so, as it did not have permission. We are investigating to understand exactly how this happened and to make sure it doesn’t happen again”.