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The accessible parking index

Driving with a disability can pose enough challenges, without struggling to find somewhere to park when you reach your destination. With Blue Badges now being offered to drivers with invisible disabilities too, competition for prime parking is higher than ever, and some cities just don’t live up to expectations. 

While our car leasing deals might save you money, disabled parking can save you time, effort and discomfort. Our report looks at where the best (and worst) cities are for securing your spot.

Worcester boasts 96% of accessible parking

The medieval city of Worcester might have been created way back in history, but its parking is ahead of its time. With 96% of car parks there offering accessible spaces, Blue Badge holders can enjoy the stunning cathedral and incredible history the West Midlands city has to offer. 

Epsom is another historical town with very modern parking allowances. 95% of car parks there cater for Blue Badge holders, offering ample space and allowances for everyone to enjoy the ancient market highstreet. 

Croydon completes the top three with 94%, with our top 20 showing there are many major UK locations that cater for people with additional parking needs. 

The top 20 best UK locations for accessible parking



Rank City % of car parks WITH disabled spaces
1 Worcester 96%
2 Epsom 95%
3 Croydon 94%
4 Reading 91%
5 Newark-on-Trent 89%
6 Bangor 89%
7 Truro 89%
8 Kingston-upon-Thames 88%
9 Gloucester 88%
10 Ashford 88%
11 Cardiff 87%
12 Ely 86%
13 Brighton 85%
14 Bromley 84%
15 Cambridge 84%
16 Chelmsford 83%
17 Colchester 83%
18 Lincoln 83%
19 Wolverhampton 82%
20 Ipswich 82%

Derby is the UK’s worst city for disabled parking

Despite boasting a population of over a quarter of a million people, Derby’s disabled parking allowance is a much less impressive figure. 58% of the car parks in the city have no accessible options, leaving Blue Badge holders struggling for spaces often far away from their destination. 

While parking problems are annoying for everyone, they can be the difference between a nice day out and a dangerous situation for someone with a disability, making spaces close to shops and with enough space for access essential. 

Southampton doesn’t fare much better, with 46% of car parks offering no accessible spaces in the coastal city. Liverpool completes our inaccessible top three, with 44% of car parks not catering for disabled drivers. 

The top 20 worst UK locations for accessible parking



Rank City % of car parks without disabled spaces
1 Derby 58%
2 Southampton 46%
3 Liverpool 44%
4 Belfast 43%
5 City of Londont 43%
6 Bradford 42%
7 Exeter 42%
8 Preston 41%
9 Birmingham 39%
10 Manchester 36%
11 Nottingham 35%
12 Leicester 34%
13 Stratford-upon-Avon 33%
14 Bolton 33%
15 Norwich 32%
16 Dundee 32%
17 Hereford 32%
18 Wandsworth 30%
19 Aberdeen 30%
20 Newcastle 29%

Who can use accessible parking spots?

To use an accessible parking bay, you need to have a Blue Badge displayed on your dashboard where it’s visible through the windscreen. Only certain people are eligible for Blue Badges, and they only permit you to park in disabled on-street parking. Carers of people with disabilities are also eligible for Blue Badges, allowing them to do their work without any inconveniences. 

Accessible parking spots in private car parks - such as shopping centres or multi-story car parks - are managed by different rules. However, it is safe to assume that if you qualify for a Blue Badge, you’ll be allowed to park there too. 

If you don’t have a Blue Badge you can not park in disabled parking bays. If you do, you could face a fine.

Another way Blue Badge holders can make their lives easier is by choosing a car more suited to their additional needs. At Nationwide Vehicle Contracts we have a selection of car leasing deals on cars named as the best motability cars on the market, from manufacturers such as Ford and BMW. 

Whether it’s for business or personal use, we also have useful guides to help you choose the right vehicle to lease, for you.

Methodology 

Nationwide Vehicle Contracts used Parkopedia data to analyse 56 car parks across the UK to find the number of parking facilities that offered disabled spaces. Analysts then calculated the percentage of accessible car parks that were available in each location to determine the best and worst for places for blue badge holders.

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