Hospital 'fails on parking pledge'

IPSWICH Hospital flouted regulations after it failed in its pledge to create more parking spaces, it was claimed today.

Rebecca Lefort

IPSWICH Hospital flouted regulations after it failed in its pledge to create more parking spaces, it was claimed today.

John Carnall, deputy leader of Ipswich Borough Council, said he was furious that the hospital had failed to build a multi-storey car park, despite promising it would do so before completing the high profile Garrett Anderson Centre (GAC), which opened earlier this year.

Building a 465-space staff car park at Pearson Road was a condition of the original planning permission granted to the hospital so it could start work on the £26million centre - but hospital bosses then changed their mind and the parking was never built.

Yesterday Ipswich Borough Council's planning committee heard an application from the hospital asking to change the original permission granted in 2005 so the hospital has an extra three years to build the promised car park, or not build it at all if its green travel plans make it unnecessary.

This permission was granted by councillors.

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Mr Carnall, councillor for the Bixley ward which represents people living around the hospital, said: “I get a lot of complaints from residents about hospital parking with hospital staff and patients parking in local roads causing serious problems.

“When the GAC was approved there was a planning requirement that a multi-storey car park should be built.

“But the hospital completely ignored that and local people suffered even worse problems with builders and contractors parking while the work went on.

“Local people are saying that the law applies to them but not the hospital.”

Mr Carnall said he felt the hospital had shown contempt for the planning system by asking to put back building the car park and possibly not building it at all.

He added: “Of course we couldn't say they shouldn't have opened the GAC but they should have stuck to the planning conditions.”

- Should Ipswich Hospital have been allowed to alter its planning conditions? Should more parking spaces be available at the hospital? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail

The hospital's view

Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman for the hospital, said: “The reason we put in this revised planning application is because the world has changed a lot since the initial application was put in.

“We're working to encourage more responsible travel to work and looking at ways to reduce the use of cars.

“The hospital would be the first to admit we can always do more, go faster and further.

“We acknowledge the plans have changed since they were initially drawn up seven years ago.

“At the end of the day we have to be aware that we are publicly accountable and to use public money for something like this we would have to be absolutely sure it was the right decision.”

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