Parking fears follow James Paget Hospital fare hike

A HIKE in parking fees for James Paget University Hospital staff will lead to an increase in car problems in the surrounding streets, a councillor warned.

Colleen Walker, representing the Claydon Ward, spoke of her concern following news the hospital would be doubling its charges from March.

The increase follows news that some residents, who have long complained of car overflow from the hospital, had won a battle to introduce yellow lines into Gresham Close.

Mrs Walker has campaigned for residents in the area over the issue and pointed to areas like Wadham Road and Kennedy Avenue as hotspots likely to face worse car clogging.

“It’s been an ongoing problem for years. No one has a God-given right to parking, but people should be able to have somewhere to park when they come home from work.”

Mrs Walker, who acknowledged the hospital needed to raise funds, added she could see few possible solutions to the situation aside from more yellow lines, or a residential parking scheme.

“I think this increase will make it worse, as people won’t pay the prices as they increase the charges. People going to work need to make a living and they won’t want to pay extra – but you can’t put that kind of pressure on residents nearby.”

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After negotiations stretching back to July, staff parking for those on a basic salary up to �16,753 will go up from �5 to �10 a month. Those earning more will pay �20 per month, up from �10.

A member of staff, who did not wish to be identified, said following news of the increase, colleagues had talked of parking in the surrounding residential areas to save money.

A spokesman from the James Paget Hospital said the decision had not been taken lightly. “However, we have taken into consideration our staffs’ basic salaries and linked the increase accordingly. There has not been an increase to staff since February 2009 and the rates being applied are fair and proportionate.

“The additional revenue generated by this increase will be used to cover the costs of providing and maintaining staff car parking facilities and reinvestment in our frontline services.”