Parking fees drop at King’s Lynn hospital

New Chairman of the QEH at Kings Lynn Edward Libbey ANL-141007-131736009

New Chairman of the QEH at Kings Lynn Edward Libbey ANL-141007-131736009

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Motorists will soon be paying £1 an hour to park at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital under proposed changes.

Hospital chiefs have announced plans to introduce new fees and tariffs at the Gayton Road site in a bid to reduce congestion.

Currently, drivers are charged £2.60 for up to three hours but from April 1 this will be change to £2 for up to two hours and £3 for up to three hours.

The hospital will also be removing blue badge holders right to park for free and introducing a flat rate fee of £2, a move which has come under fire from disability campaigners.

But trust chairman Edward Libbey hopes the new charges will free-up spaces.

He said: “We believe that introducing a two hour parking charge will reduce the cost of parking for a great many visitors and those coming for outpatients

“We also anticipate that introducing a two hour tariff will help reduce congestion and free up spaces by encouraging people to leave promptly following their appointment.”

The decision to change the parking charges follows a request from hospital’s board of governors.

Other new charges to the parking tariff includes charges of £22 for a weekly ticket and £12 for eight to 24 hours.

The trust is not expecting an income reduction and is upgrading its car parks.

Resurfacing and the installation of new pay machines which can take credit and debit cards are part of the improvements.

The hospital says the £2 flat rate for blue badge holders is designed to ensure that they are not disadvantaged if more time is needed for appointments.

Mr Libbey said: “The trust currently has more than 70 spaces designated for blue badge holders and is acutely aware of the issues they face, however, a blue badge does not automatically entitle the holder to free parking.

“What it does is ensure easy access parking as close as possible to the hospital.

“Anyone who is unable to pay for either their travel or parking due to their financial circumstances is able to apply for the Travel Costs Scheme.”

But news of the blue badge charge has been criticised by Jonathan Toye, of the West Norfolk Disability Information Service.

He said: “I think it is appalling. You have enough problems and expenses as a disabled person.

“You know that you are going to have to be there for longer and very often the spaces set aside for blue badge holders are full so it takes forever to get there and back.

“I am very unimpressed, just as we were when West Norfolk Council started to charge.”

The new charges will come into force in April, subject to Norfolk County Council approval.

For more information on travel costs scheme go to www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcosts/Pages/Travelcosts.aspx