Anger as hospital plans to charge for parking

PARKING charges at a Leamington hospital could result in clogged streets and heavy costs for the families of long term patients.

This was the warning from Whitnash Town Council when it learned of South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust’s plans to introduce charges at Leamington Rehabilitation Hospital in October.

The trust, which runs Warwick Hospital, plans to add around 70 spaces to the 199 at the Heathcote Lane site, as well as creating around 20 more inpatient beds.

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But Warwick district councillor Tony Heath (Ind, Whitnash) warned that charges would result in people using nearby streets and spaces for shops and homes.

Whitnash mayor Cllr Adrian Barton said: “It will be a complete and utter disaster. Nobody will be parking at the rehab hospital any more, they will be parking everywhere else.”

Others feared the cost to the families of long-term residents. Cllr Judy Falp said: “There are a few people who are there to receive short-term care but there is a large number of people for whom it is their home.

“To see their loved ones pay to park is absolutely out of order.”

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Warwickshire county councillor Bernard Kirton (Ind, Whitnash) suggested writing to the trust’s chief executive Glen Burley.

He said: “This is typical of the NHS, looking for alternative sources of money when we’re getting cuts from central government.”

Warwick District Council chairman Cllr Michael Kinson, a guest at the meeting, said charges at Warwick Hospital had led to problems in the Packmores estate, which he represented.

A trust spokeswoman said: “As part of the planning application to support our expansion plans for the hospital, additional spaces are being created to allow more patients, visitors and staff. The trust encourages onsite parking to be used in order to minimise the disruption to local residents.

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“To ensure this development work is viable, charges will be introduced. The trust does not plan to make any profit from car parking charges as the funds are reinvested into the maintenance of the site.

“The trust is currently discussing the car park charges and will offer concessions for families of long-term patients.”