300 more parking spaces planned at niversity Hospital of North Staffordshire
AN extra 300 car parking spaces are being planned to help ease congestion at a hospital by the end of next year.
The additional spaces will take the provision at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire to 2,000 and help tackle the problem of patients and visitors who can spend long periods driving around searching for an empty bay.
Numbers have varied over the past two years as parking spaces have been successively turned into temporary parking lots as the £400 million redevelopment has taken shape.
Problems are being eased at present because the recently-closed Royal Infirmary is being used by staff as a make-shift park and ride scheme.
A trust spokesman said: "New car parks will be built where old buildings have been demolished and once landscaping of the new site is complete next year, the hospital will have 2,000 car parking spaces.
"Parking can be difficult at busy times, such as afternoon visiting times.
"So people able to come instead in the evening will find it much easier to park."
Families living close to the facility have complained that both staff and visitors have used surrounding streets to park.
This has led to scores of residents-only parking schemes being rolled out to combat the issue.
Barbara Andrew, of the Hartshill and Harpfield Residents' Association, said: "We welcome the plans and I am sure residents will be pleased to hear that more parking is becoming available.
"This will hopefully help reduce the annoyance and inconvenience caused by hospital visitors parking in residents' spaces."
In the past the hospital has been criticised by disabled groups after designated bays were situated too far from the main entrance.
Last year the bosses vowed to review the provision as patients with wheelchairs, walking sticks and crutches faced a 70-metre struggle across a new piazza from the nearest bay to the front door.
It is believed that disabled bays could now be situated at the existing drop-off point with that area redesigned. More bays are also pencilled in for close to the A&E department.
Pam Bryan, vice-chairman of Stoke-on-Trent Area Network for Disability, said: "We have had discussions with the hospital and while nothing has been confirmed I am encouraged that they have been willing to discuss the issue. They are taking the matter seriously."