Disabled drivers have been left furious after two of Birmingham’s biggest concert venues scrapped free parking.
Motorists using disabled bays must now pay £10 at the National Exhibition Centre and £8 at the nearby LG Arena.
The new charges were introduced at the start of this month and followed what the NEC Group – which operates both sites – called “significant improvements” in facilities.
But driver Sally Head, aged 48 and from Northfield, said she was “amazed and angered” at the charges.
The mum-of-three suffers from constant back and leg pain due to a slipped disc and arthritis and uses crutches or a wheelchair.
“As a disabled person I do not consider parking by a venue or shop entrance to be a benefit but a necessity,” she said.
“Most disabled customers cannot use public transport and rely on driving or being driven.
“Better disabled parking facilities are good news, but how can passing the cost of those improvements to customers be justified?
“I hope this short-sighted decision is reconsidered.
“Disability benefit is used to pay for a vehicle. To be charged on top of that is too much and it doesn’t seem fair.”
The NEC and LG Arena said the £10 charge “brings it in line with the majority of the event market who already charge”.
NEC Group managing director Kathryn James said: “In response to visitor and exhibitor surveys last year, we have focused our efforts on making significant improvements during the summer to our site, at an investment of £2 million.
“We acknowledge it is difficult for visitors to accept price rises, especially during these difficult times.
“But these changes are needed in order to make these investments to ensure our venue offers our customers a great experience that will set the NEC apart.
“We’ve worked closely with industry experts to ensure we offer a quality parking offer with a high standard of customer service for our disabled visitors, with new, improved facilities including a specialist call assistance service that will be accessible from the dedicated disabled car parking areas.”