Cash from parking fines could be ploughed back into making Carlisle more accessible for wheelchair users.

The suggestion from county council leader Stewart Young was sparked by concerns that some of the city’s most vulnerable people were being left “isolated” in the outskirts by the challenging street layout.

Stephen Haraldsen, Conservative councillor for Carlisle’s Yewdale ward, made a plea for more to be done to help wheelchair users, people pushing prams and those reliant mobility scooters.

But it emerged at a meeting of the Local Committee for Carlisle that the authority has a “cash surplus”from penalty charge notices which could be used to make the city less difficult to traverse.

Mr Haraldsen acknowledged that “great strides had been made” in the city centre but said more needed to be done in outlying areas, stressing the council’s “duty of care” to those less able to get around.

Among his complaints was that areas including Orton Road, Sandsfield Lane and Hutton Way had drop kerbs one side of the road but not on the other.

He added: “We are stranding certain people on the edge of the city where with a good pair of binoculars they can see the shops but they can’t get there.

“We are helping cyclists get on and off shared spaces but not the people who really need that drop kerb – people pushing buggies, people in wheelchairs and electric vehicles.

“We are not doing enough to help them remain active, independent citizens of Carlisle and we need to look at how we connect people not just to the centre of the city but to their local facilities in the divisions and areas where they live.

“Until we do, we are essentially consigning certain vulnerable people to loneliness and isolation, so they require the help and charity of family members and friends.”

Gareth Scott, of the council’s highways department, said that it would “not cost a great amount of money” to put drop kerbs in certain places.

He added: “If we were to do it on every street corner of the city obviously it’s a huge amount.”

Mr Haraldsen suggested tackling the problem by targeting particular areas in sequence rather than in an ad hoc way.

But it was Mr Young who came up with an idea of how the improvements might be funded at a time when councils nationwide have seen their budgets squeezed.

He said: “Since the county took back the operation of on street parking enforcement, we are now making a surplus from the penalty charge notices against the cost of the service. For the last two years that surplus has to go back onto highway-related matters.

“So far that money has been spent on lining (road markings) and signing. We continue to make a surplus so there will be a debate at some point when all the lines and signs have been brought up to date.

“If the areas are interested in looking at the access issues that have been raised that would give us some initial funding? It’s not going to solve the entire problem because resources are probably not sufficient but it would make a contribution towards it.”