A Worksop councillor has hit out at controversial staff parking charges at Bassetlaw Hospital which he claims are “dangerous” for both workers and residents living nearby.
After new parking charges were introduced by the hospital’s trust earlier this year, staff unable to afford the fees claimed they were being forced to leave their vehicles on nearby residential roads.
Councillor Alan Rhodes, who represents Worksop North East and Carlton-in-Lindrick at Nottinghamshire County Council, says this is “damaging” the hospital’s relationship with the community and has asked for the charges to be reversed.
Mr Rhodes, who is also the leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “The situation in respect of on-street parking in some of the residential areas surrounding Bassetlaw Hospital is completely unsustainable and, in my opinion, dangerous.
“It is clear to me that the parking charging policies are failing as increasing numbers of staff and visitors are deciding not to pay to park on-site and instead choosing to park on surrounding streets.
“It is important that the hospital has a good relationship with its neighbours, and that the presence of the hospital is not regarded as detrimental to the neighbourhood.
Coun Rhodes said he had received “daily comments” from residents who live near the hospital complaining of “inconsiderate and dangerous parking by staff, contractors and visitors.”
He said that some residents had been met with “abuse” when confronting some motorists about the issue.
He went on: “Community relationships are important and Bassetlaw Hospital management have a duty to recognise this and take appropriate action to ensure good relationships are restored and road safety is prioritised.
“I have written to Chris Scholey, chair of the Bassetlaw Hospitals Trust, asking him take into consideration the implementation of the charges.
“I hope he will understand the negative impact it is having on residents and reflect upon the reputational damage caused to Bassetlaw Hospital due to the parking policy.”
Bassetlaw Hospitals Trust chiefs have defended the parking rates but added they were looking at ways to tackle issues raised by Coun Rhodes, including concessions for lower paid staff and weekly bulletins reminding workers to park respectfully.
Kirsty Edmondson-Jones, director of Estates and Facilities at the Bassetlaw Hospitals Trust, said: “The Trust has charged staff, patients and visitors to park on site for many years in line with many other NHS Trusts and Department of Health guidance published in October 2015 entitled ‘NHS Patient, Visitor and Staff Car Parking Principles’.
“We have recently rolled out a parking permit system on all of our sites to ensure patient and visitor parking is prioritised whilst maintaining spaces for our staff.
“While we process applications and implement this system most of our staff car parks are free to access and from 1 December 2016 we will be offering a 40 per cent concession to our lower paid and part-time staff.
“Through our weekly staff bulletin and other means, we regularly remind our staff to be considerate and respectful when leaving their vehicle off-site, ensuring they do not block off drive-ways or obstruct access to property.
“We are happy to work with our neighbours to resolve any issues.”