Bury St Edmunds: Hospital car parks earn nearly �2.9million

CAR parks at West Suffolk Hospital have brought in almost �2.9million over the last five years, it can be revealed.

Revenue generated by visitors and staff parking at the Bury St Edmunds hospital is now at its highest level for more than ten years.

The car parks at the Hardwick Lane site, which have been managed by Vinci Parking Services since 2006, raised �682,000 last year - �139,000 more than in 2010/2011.

The amount could increase further this year after two hour and four hour tariffs were increased in July.

Councillors have criticised the upward trend in revenue, which they claim is causing more people to park in residential streets surrounding the hospital.

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Craig Dearden-Phillips, Suffolk County Councillor for Hardwick, Bury St Edmunds, said: “Compared to other areas the prices to park in West Suffolk Hospital are pretty high. The fact that the charges are so high, means that many people park outside the car park on the surrounding streets. The hospital has, in effect, socialised the problem.”

A spokesman for West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust said Vinci annually reviews car park charges and in return pays the hospital more than �500,000.

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He added: “We appreciate that car parking charges can cause concern to some of our patients and visitors. As such, we provide free drop off points and a range of concessions to help all patients who make frequent visits to the hospital or those receiving income support or family credit.”

The hospital has said the increase in parking revenue over the last two years is a result of a levy placed on staff car parking that helped fund travel to work schemes - including a park and ride, additional bike racks, improvements to shower facilities for those walking and cycling and a car share scheme.

A spokesman said that although staff are asked to show consideration by not parking in residential areas, people cannot be stopped from parking legally. A spokeswoman for Vinci did not respond.

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