COMPLAINTS from disabled residents about the impact of new parking controls in East Oxford are being investigated under human rights laws.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has written to Oxfordshire County Council about the planned Controlled Parking Zone in the Divinity Road area.

The commission stepped in after hearing disabled people feared cars parked on pavements would block them getting past in their wheelchairs – affecting their mobility and breaching their human rights.

The commission wants to know if County Hall carried out a full disability impact assessment before it pressed ahead.

Cars will be allowed to park on pavements, but the council says it will ensure that at least one metre is left free for pedestrians.

Southfield Road resident Chris Lewendon, 64, who is blind and suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, said: “A one metre width of pavement would not be sufficient if you are in a wheelchair.”

His neighbour Sietske Boeles added: “The county council has a statutory duty to do an assessment. If it is shown to have an adverse impact on disabled people, they must take measures to mitigate this.”

She believed the commission’s ruling could have an impact on parking zones across the city.

A county council spokesman said last night: “Highways officers carried out a full assessment of the potential impact of this proposal on disabled people.”

Parking schemes for the Divinity Road and Magdalen Road areas have been approved by the council.

But because the Iffley Fields area was dropped from the original plans, new consultation has been held on the two projects.

A final decision is expected in the spring.