BANNING cars from Colchester High Street would make the town centre “incredibly inaccessible” for disabled shoppers, campaigners have warned.

The group, Fair Access to Colchester, says it will oppose Colchester Council’s plans to ban cars from the High Street during the day.

As part of the scheme, the council would remove all 28 disabled parking bays from the High Street and a further ten from Head Street.

In their place, it would add ten disabled spaces in Vineyard Street car park, four under Culver Square Shopping Centre, five in Priory Street and eight in St Mary’s car park.

Fair Access to Colchester says the new locations are unworkable and would mean longer, often uphill journeys for people with disabilities to reach the town centre from their cars.

Jade Hamnett, the group marketing and funding officer, said: “Removing blue badge parking from the High Street will make the town incredibly inaccessible.

“People with mobility problems and chronic pain, who cannot use a wheelchair on their own, rely on the closeness of the parking bays in the centre of town.

“Taking these away also takes away independence because a person is required to push them. The council says ‘yes we are looking at that’ but I don’t see results.

“If it continues not to take our concerns on board, we will be looking at starting a petition and increasing our campaigning.”

The group has suggested disabled parking bays in Culver Street West, because it is in the centre of town and is flat and accessible.

Mrs Hamnett warned failing to listen to disabled people would send trade to other towns.

She said: “The council needs to remember not all disabled people are poor. Some have a lot of money to spend and many disabled people will go to other towns to shop, losing income for the town.

“It would also discourage tourism, since many people look for disabled-friendly towns before they travel. The blue pound is worth billions, and we feel Colchester should be looking for this money to be spent in the town.”

Lyn Barton, Colchester councillor responsible for the town centre transformation project, said: “We have listened, responded and come up with other options for blue badge holders, which are still being explored.

“They are an improvement to what we had on the table originally. We are particularly pleased we have discovered extra places under Culver Square.”