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Mum whose son has walking disability denied a disabled badge

PUBLISHED: 12:00 06 July 2011

Cobey Matthews

Cobey Matthews

Archant

A mother whose son’s medical condition means he is often in pain when he walks is furious she is not eligible for a disabled parking permit.

Elisha Nicholls’ four-year-old son Cobey Matthews has to undergo serial casting on his legs for weeks at a time because his feet roll in and calves tighten up.

But despite his physiotherapist writing to Tower Hamlets Council stating that a parking permit would “significantly improve the family’s quality of life”, the authority says he is not eligible.

Ms Nicholls, who lives in Nelson Walk, Bow, says she spends more than £200 on parking a month.

But her biggest concern, she said, is her son’s safety as she often resorts to carrying Cobey, who at four and a half stone is far heavier than most children his age.

She said: “Unless the mobility team come with me on a normal journey they won’t see what he goes through. He was only given a five minute assessment inside a building.

“Often he can’t walk and I physically can’t carry him. He goes through pushchairs too. He has so many doctor’s appointments and it’s often a long way to the hospital from where I can park. I dropped him in the street recently and we were both bruised.”

A letter from the Children’s Physiotherapy Service at the Royal London stated that Cobey has global developmental delay, does not have a lot of stability in his joints and complains of “pain in his legs”.

He has been having physiotherapy since he was six-weeks-old.

He also has allergies to animals, dust, nuts and pollen and needs to use the toilet frequently.

Ms Nicholls said she is willing to buy a residents’ permit but her block is a car-free zone which makes her ineligible.

According to the government’s rules, among other criteria, residents are only entitled to a blue badge if they receive a higher rate of disability living allowance, are registered blind, have severe disability in both arms or a permanent affliction leaving them unable to walk or severely hindered.

Tower Hamlets Council said it has to follow the rules, adding: “The criteria are outlined in law and cannot be negotiated.”


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