Council set to launch traffic survey to address parking problems around Ipswich Hospital

Cars parked in Glenavon Road, Ipswich.

Cars parked in Glenavon Road, Ipswich.

Parking restrictions could be considered to stop Ipswich Hospital visitors using residential streets to avoid paying out car park fees.

People living in the areas around the Heath Road site claim their streets have been plagued for years by people parking across driveways, grass verges and corners – and they say the problem is only getting worse.

Suffolk County Council is now looking into the cost of running a traffic survey in the area based around safety and congestion to determine whether to implement parking restrictions in streets surrounding the hospital.

The spotlight was recently turned on the hospital’s parking facilities after a petition was launched calling for free parking for its staff.

In one week it has been supported by almost 2,000 people.

Ipswich borough councillor for the Bixley ward, John Carnell, said hospital parking had been the issue he received the most complaints about from residents since he was elected in 2008.

Mr Carnell said he and county councillor Alan Murray had spoken to officers at Suffolk County Council about conducting a traffic survey to identify the traffic problems and to put forward options that might help solve them – this could be waiting restrictions or a residents’ parking scheme. A public consultation will then take place to see what option is most supported.

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He said: “Based on my experience I am not desperately confident we will solve it in terms of people street parking, the solution rests on the hospital providing proper parking for staff and visitors.” Mr Murray has offered to cover the cost of the traffic survey in his locality budget.

He said: “I am content to support schemes for traffic management and road safety but am against the imposition of yet more yellow lines to address perceived nuisance parking.”

Glenavon Road residents Martin Shaw and Steve Hoddy said the situation was getting worse.

They claimed their estate has become “dangerous” because of the number of cars parking down the roads, coupled with an increase in traffic due to motorists using the residential roads as a “rat run” to get from Woodbridge Road to Heath Road avoiding the roundabout and traffic lights. The residents also claim some of the cars that park in the estate still have their NHS permits displayed in their windows.

Mr Shaw, who is the chairman of Glenavon Road’s neighbourhood watch committee, said: “We can try and get parking restrictions which is one thing, but that’s not going to fix the cause. They’ve got to sort out parking at the hospital.”

A woman who lives in Melbourne Road and asked not to be named said: “I’ve lived in this estate all my life and in the last year or so it’s totally got worse.

“It’s just frustrating for the people who actually live here because you can’t park on your own driveway.”

A county council spokesman said the authority had been asked by Alan Murray to investigate the cost of a traffic survey.

Once a quote is agreed, a highways team will be asked to conduct the survey, he added.

An Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman said the trust was looking into the idea of running a Park and Ride service for hospital users.

She added: “The streets around the hospital are not residents only car parking areas and this means that we are not able to do any more than to frequently ask staff to be respectful and considerate.”