Parents of disabled children have expressed their outrage after a senior council official nodded through the introduction of automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras without exemptions for blue badge holders and carers.

Littlehay Road, Crescent Road and Littlemore Road in Cowley will have low traffic neighbourhood restrictions (LTNS) enforced through the introduction of ANPR cameras which will issue motorists with a fine unless they qualify for an exemption.

The cabinet member for highway management, Andrew Gant, approved the council’s plans to enforce these during a council meeting on Thursday. 

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Oxford Mail: ANPR camerasANPR cameras

However, despite parents and councillors pleading with Mr Gant to not make these streets inaccessible for disabled and elderly residents, no amendments were made to the proposals which would help “the most vulnerable in society”.

The proposals do not make any exemptions for blue badge holders, which is a scheme which helps disabled people park closer to their destination.

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The LTNs were made permanent in Cowley in July 2022 but the council decided to review the scheme and launch a public consultation which asked for opinions on introducing ANPR cameras instead.

The consultation, which ran between March 6 and April 17 this year, found that 58 per cent of respondents rejected the proposals for Crescent Road.

The proposals for Littlehay Road and Littlemore Road were rejected by 57.5 per cent and 58 per cent respectively.

Oxford Mail: Parent Sadiea Mustafa-AwanParent Sadiea Mustafa-Awan (Image: Sadiea Mustafa-Awan)

Sadiea Mustafa-Awan, a parent of boy with autism and ADHD, told Mr Gant in the meeting that residents in Littlemore and her neighbours had simply become “collateral” in the council’s ambition to reach net zero.

She said: “What I cannot reconcile is that your proposal does not allow access to those with a blue badge.

Ms Mustafa-Awan told Mr Gant: “Without amending the proposal to help the most vulnerable in our community you are not fit to hold the office you do.”

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Ms Mustafa-Awan has told the Oxford Mail: “I am not surprised by this decision, but I am just disappointed.

“Time and time again this administration has shown zero compassion and not all disabilities are physical, but they equally create barriers for the most vulnerable within our community.”

Oxford Mail: Low traffic neighbourhoods Low traffic neighbourhoods

The authority has said the ANPR cameras will allow “flexibility for amendments to bus services, allow for increased police patrols” and allow for “unforeseen or emergency situations”.

Ian Yeatman, whose father is a blue badge holder, told the Oxford Mail: “The decision to proceed without concessions when this is already in place across many other councils is punitive to a vulnerable section of our community.

“The council has put ideology ahead of its duty of care today.”

Despite not amending the proposals, Mr Gant promised in the meeting that he would put exemptions for blue badge holders “thoroughly under review” and would work with NHS trusts to “actively assess the impact” of exemptions for care workers.

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Littlemore councillors Tiago Corais and Trish Elphinstone appealed to Mr Gant in the meeting to provide these exemptions and the latter highlighted that the elderly population had particularly found their lives had become more difficult since the LTNs were introduced.

Ms Elphinstone said: We think these exemptions are vital for the community, as elderly people need to be able to have access to GP surgeries.

“I just hope Mr Gant will change his mind.”

Councillor Andrew Gant, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for highways management, said: “Today’s decision was made with the commitment to carry out further review into the needs of Blue Badge holders, health care workers and carers.

“Exemptions will continue to be reviewed across all LTN ANPR camera locations to ensure the aims of the LTNs – to reduce through-traffic, and make the roads quieter and safer for walking, wheeling and cycling – are still achievable.”