Disabled people in Haringey will be able to apply for their own dedicated parking bays from the beginning of next year.

The move aims to put an end to a situation that has left disabled residents unable to park in their own spaces – sometimes for hours at a time – because the bays have been taken up by other drivers with disabilities.

Up to now, people in the borough have had access to standard disabled parking bays that are installed by the council free of charge.

But these bays can be parked in by anyone from in or out of the borough who holds a blue badge – a parking permit issued to people with severe mobility problems.

This means many people who applied for disabled bays have been left struggling to park near their homes and workplaces.

It can be a particularly big problem close to shopping districts and transport hubs, where there is a high demand for parking spaces.

Cllr Seema Chandwani (Labour), cabinet member for neighbourhoods, told Tuesday’s (September 10) cabinet meeting this had led to a lot of “stress and anxiety” for people who found someone else parked in their bay.

Cllr Chandwani said: “We have had disabled residents who have been trapped in their vehicles – sometimes for hours – waiting for an accessible space.

“That is hours at a time without access to a toilet, to their medication or to food and drink.

“We took too long to hear what [people with disabilities] had to say. Tonight is the first step to rectifying some of those problems with our policy based on what disabled residents have asked for.”

The changes mean people will be able to apply for a parking bay near their homes or workplaces that only they are allowed to use.

If another blue badge holder parks in that bay, they will be issued with a parking ticket.

The council will change the eligibility criteria for disabled bays so people with ‘hidden disabilities’ such as autism and dementia can apply.

Disabled people who do not claim benefits will also be able to apply for a dedicated bay.

Finally, an appeals process will be set up so people who have had an application for a disabled bay rejected can have the decision reviewed and possibly overturned.

The new scheme, which will be launched in January, will apply to all new applications for disabled bays.

People with existing bays can have them converted to dedicated bays by lodging an application with the council.

Haringey’s cabinet members agreed the changes unanimously.