Permit allowing Devon carers and health workers to park on double yellow lines is made permanent

A scheme that allows care and health workers to park on double yellow lines across Devon is to be made permanent.

The pilot to allow professionals visiting people at home to stop in normally-restricted spaces in certain situations was launched earlier this year.

Professionals with a Care and Health Worker Parking Permit can currently park in on-street, limited waiting and residents’ parking bays when delivering essential services to residents.

The new permits allow stop-offs on double yellow lines for an hour, but only if there is no other parking available.

Devon County Council’s (DCC) cabinet heard at its December meeting that a one-year trial had seen 9,000 permits issued to care givers, social services and NHS providers.

Members unanimously agreed that the scheme is retained and becomes permanent.

It will also be extended to allow up to three hours’ parking in ‘no waiting’ areas.

Permits will have a time clock, similar that for Blue Badge holders, which must be displayed.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, DCC cabinet member for highways, said: “Many care and health workers have told us that they struggle to park in some areas and it can affect their ability to deliver essential services to vulnerable people and adds to their stress. With the Covid-19 crisis, this has been invaluable.”

An officer’s report to the meeting said: “The Care and Health Worker Permit has delivered real benefits to its users.

“Of the 228 responses received in our recent survey, 100 per cent of current permit holding responders want the scheme to be continued as it has made a difference in their ability to deliver an efficient service and improved the quality and quantity of time spent with their client/patients.

“They report that savings have been made and that staff retention and recruitment has been improved as a result of a permit scheme minimises the risk to care staff of being fined when parked when providing care to a client/patient.

“The pandemic has seen the general public come to recognise and appreciate the value these key workers play in society.

“In our initial consultation to introduce a permit scheme for care workers, over 94 per cent of responses were in favour of the introduction of this permit.

“The council would appear in a very poor light and suffer reputational damage in the eyes of its residents, if the scheme were now to be withdrawn.”

Coronavirus ‘clusters’ remain in 18 parts of East Devon – with 154 new cases confirmed across district in a week