Blue badge discount sign up now live

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Holders of a blue badge can now sign up for an online account to get three hours of free parking in the city council’s new off-street ANPR car parks.

The first off-street car parks covered by the discount scheme are St Radigund’s and Miller’s Field in Canterbury. The former moved to the ANPR technology earlier this week and the latter will become an ANPR car park by the end of this week.

To get the three hours of free parking, blue badge holders will need to sign up for a council account and then register their badge online at canterbury.gov.uk/bluebadge. They must also upload a picture of their blue badge.

The process in the car parks has been made as simple as possible. When entering, the cameras will log the car registration and the system recognises it is a blue badge holder.

On leaving at the end of their stay, the motorist drives straight to the barrier. If they have stayed longer than three hours, the additional charge is debited direct from their bank account.

The account allows two vehicles to be added and these can be changed at any time, but these must be vehicles that are associated with the blue badge owner.

Chairman of the council’s Regeneration and Property Committee, Cllr Ben Fitter-Harding, said: “We promised from day one of the ANPR trial that we would put in place a system to enable the blue badge discount to continue and that’s exactly what we’re doing here.

“The new ANPR system uses the very latest technology, which we have used to implement a fair and straightforward system for making three hours of free parking available to blue badge holders, and is set up in just a few steps in the online account.”

The council is working on further developments that will allow a blue badge holder to use their blue badge in other vehicles, such as their carer’s. This is expected to be available in the spring. In the meantime, blue badge holders not using their own vehicle can still make use of non-ANPR car parks, blue badge only car parks in Canterbury, and on-street parking spaces across the district.

Once St Radigund’s and Miller’s Field car parks have gone live, attention will move to Whitstable, where Middle Wall will be upgraded from the trial ANPR system to the new one, and Gorrell Tank will get the new system.

Then it’s on to Herne Bay, where William Street will be upgraded and Neptune will get the new system.

Finally, it will be back to Canterbury, where Pound Lane and Castle Street multi-storey will be upgraded and Longport, Castle Row, Watling Street, Queningate and the new Station Road West multi-storey (once constructed) will get the new system.

In addition, the council is now planning to add the ANPR system to the Whitefriars multi-storey car park in due course.

The three park and ride sites went live on ANPR late last year and so far around 3,500 new parking accounts have been created. The new off-street ANPR car parks will be added to the system as they go live.

The blue badge discount does not operate at park and ride.