WORK is nearing completion on a scheme to make it easier for disabled motorists with a blue badge motorists to access a town riverbank.

They will now be able to use a special fob to get into the car park beside The Ribble at Edisford in Clitheroe.

It will stop them having to get out of their vehicles to gain access to the beauty spot.

Ribble Valley Council hopes the new system will prevent the situation which arose one Sunday this summer when more than 40 unauthorised vehicles parked on the riverbank, causing a safety hazard to families and churning up the grass.

The Council agreed that the previous arrangement, whereby drivers had to unlock then relock a padlocked gate using a RADAR key, was not a good way of accessing the river bank. This often led to the gate being left open for any unauthorised vehicles to gain access and, on occasion, led to vehicles that had gained access being locked in.

Director of community services, John Heap, said: "The investment by the council means that blue badge holders may obtain a fob from Ribblesdale Pool or the reception at the borough council offices, after leaving a refundable deposit of £20.

"The fob automatically operates a new barrier, providing access to the disabled spaces by the river bank. Drivers do not have to leave their vehicle to operate the barrier, either entering or leaving the area.

"The fob, which remains council property, may be retained for as long as drivers need to use it, be that a day or several years.

"Upon returning the fob, their deposit will be returned.

"During the hot summer of 2018, there were issues with unauthorised access to the river bank which saw 40 to 50 cars parking on the grass among families picnicking, leading to concerns about an accident occurring.

"A number of fobs have already been given out and, together with improvements to pedestrian access, will continue to ensure that this very attractive local tourist hotspot is made as safe as possible for all users in the future."