Sheffield hospital parking fees total £2.8m

NGH Parking .Local resident  Russell Cutts
NGH Parking .Local resident Russell Cutts
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SHEFFIELD hospitals made almost £2.8 million in parking charges over the last year - but have not yet committed to building a new multi-storey car park to relieve a chronic shortage of spaces around the Northern General.

The Star’s Your Right to Know campaign can reveal £1.458m was received in fees at the Northern General Hospital site, and £1.322m around the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in 2011/12.

Income from the fees increased from £1.396m in 2010/11 at the Northern General, although it fell from £1.37m at the Royal Hallamshire site.

The trust has not revealed the cost of running the car parks but profits are likely to be in the hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The shortage of spaces at the Northern General has worsened problems with staff parking on residential streets around the hospital.

And it has also led to an increasing number of people fined for parking in the wrong places on hospital sites.

In 2011/12, some 272 cars at the Northern General were clamped and owners fined, up from 202 in 2010/11. Another 67 fines were cancelled at the Northern General due to ‘exceptional circumstances’ in 2011/12, against 78 in 2010/11.

Clampings at the Hallamshire were 165 in 2011/12 and 167 in 2010/11.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, which runs both hospital sites, has changed its parking management company after clamping was recently made illegal - but fines are increasing from £25 to £60, reduced to £30 if paid early.

People living around the Northern General say they have suffered from parking problems since charges were first levied at the hospital car park six years ago.

Streets are frequently clogged with parked cars and the situation was so bad on Norwood Road that extra yellow lines had to be painted to prevent double parking, which was making it difficult for buses to get through.

People living around Norwood wanted a parking permit zone - but the plans were scrapped after residents said the hospital should fund it rather than them.

Russell Cutts, aged 33, a bicycle engineer who lives on Fairbank Road, said: “If they have made £1.45m on parking fees at the Northern General last year, some of that should be spent helping residents and alleviating problems the hospital has caused.

“Our road is only the width of two cars so it can be difficult to turn out of my drive - and the street is sometimes blocked completely because of bad parking.”

Supermarket worker Neil Beech, 49, who lives on Fairbank Road with twin brother, Mark, added: “The hospital just seems to be cashing in. They should spend some of the money on improving car parking on their site.

“The situation is sometimes so bad that ambulances have struggled to drive down our road past the parked cars.”

Pensioner Ron Rowley, 73, added: “They sometimes park in front of my drive and I need to be able to get out to help elderly relatives.

“The binmen also have trouble doing their rounds. The hospital should be able to provide better car parking facilities.”

Kevin O’Regan, Hotel Services Director, at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust, said: “We have millions of visitors to our hospitals every year and of those around 200 were clamped and charged the release fee of £25. Our parking enforcement is primarily to ensure the safe and effective running of the hospital sites not for income generation. Any surplus funds from car parking are reinvested and last year we did provide an additional 208 car parking spaces at the Northern General Hospital. It’s with regret that due to the economic climate and the need to prioritise resources on providing direct patient care we do not have the multi million pound funding to build a multi storey car park at this time, as a consequence we continue to review all options subject to planning approval and available funding to increase our car parking provision further.

“We fully acknowledge and respect the view of local residents and we continue to work with the council and residents associations to explore other options which are feasible as part of our wider transport strategy to ease the pressure on parking at our sites and surrounding areas.”