Campaign started by Dunmow man to get a new purple badge for temporarily disabled people

John Michaels with the potholes

John Michaels with the potholes - Credit: Archant

Calls for a new temporary disabled badge have been made by a Dunmow man who had a horrific accident and was left with no way to walk.

John Michaels appeared in the Broadcast last week because he was in a row with Essex County Council over potholes in his road the authority would not fix and as he had been refused a blue parking badge.

A motorcycle accident at a Hatfield Heath junction last August caused severe injuries to his ankle and leg, and the combined council issues made John feel he had lost his independence.

Since he was turned down for a blue badge, on the grounds his disability may be temporary, Mr Michaels has had an appeal meeting with a physiotherapist and he is now more hopeful for his own case.

But Mr Michaels was appalled by the sequence of events, and worried people in similar situations might not be so lucky.

He has now decided to launch a campaign for a purple badge – lasting for a much shorter period and without so many allowances as a blue badge – for people with temporary disabilities.

For example, Mr Michaels says he does not need parking in the High Street, just parking somewhere with enough space, and envisages the badge would be reassessed every six months, rather than every three years.

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Mr Michaels said: “Even if I get my blue badge I still want to make people aware of the situation for other people.

“People like me don’t consider ourselves disabled because it might be temporary, but we still have the same disability as a long-term disabled person.

“The blue badge criteria is very vague and I don’t necessarily fit it even though I can’t walk.

“Whether I win my badge or not I will still fight for this.”

Around 100 metres is the limit John can walk with a frame and in excruciating pain, and his doctors say he will not be able to properly walk for at least eight months, potentially longer.

His frame is bulky, and without extra space a disabled parking spot provides Mr Michaels would not be able to get out of his car.

Eligibility criteria for Essex County Council say blue badges are awarded when someone drives “a vehicle regularly and has a severe disability in both arms”, if they are not granted automatically.

See last week’s story here