Streets around Southmead Hospital could become 'unofficial car parks'
RESIDENTS living near Southmead Hospital fear their streets will become unofficial staff car parks when the new superhospital opens.
When the £430 million hospital opens in May next year there will only be limited staff parking on the site for more than a year, until late 2015 when a new multi-storey car park will be opened for staff.
People living nearby fear the lack of staff parking could cause congestion and parking issues on the roads surrounding the hospital.
A spokeswoman for Cherington Road neighbourhood watch said: "Parking in our street has become a big issue. There is a pedestrian entrance to the hospital just a few yards from the top of our street. Staff in particular park at the top of our street.
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"Some park on the pavements and that means that people pushing pushchairs cannot get past, and when visitors who might perhaps be elderly come by car, they have nowhere to park."
The spokeswoman, who did not wish to be named, is also concerned about the impact of the new multi-storey car park on people living nearby.
"When they finally build the multi-storey car park there is going to be a top deck with street lights on day and night," she said.
Louise Hunt, who lives in Cherington Road, said: "My main concern is safety. You get mothers pushing prams with a school-age child and maybe a toddler running behind. I have seen many near-misses.
"People with prams are pushed on to the road sometimes because there are cars parked on the pavements.
"We know hospital workers park here because they have their passes around their necks.
"It is like a car park. It is very unsafe and I feel that sooner or later there will be a serious accident."
Local councillor Cheryl Ann has set up a petition calling for North Bristol NHS Trust, which runs the site to "prioritise suitable, affordable site parking" to improve the situation for residents and staff.
She said that addressing staff parking should be dealt with before work for another organisation to build a private hospital unit on the Southmead site.
A spokesman for NBT, said the trust was looking at a range of measures to help staff get to work when the new hospital opens, including a park and ride, while spaces are temporarily lost.
"By restricting staff parking on site for just over a year this will allow us to continue to provide a similar number of spaces for patients and visitors to what we have now," he said.
"There will still be some staff parking spaces on site during this initial period. How these are allocated is still being reviewed.
"However it is likely that these will be prioritised according to types of jobs (for example shift work)."
He said the trust would encourage employees to use alternative forms of transport or the off-site parking they will provide during this period but said: "We have no jurisdiction over parking in the public highway. We encourage our staff to park considerately, responsibly and legally."
In terms of light from the multi-storey car park, the spokesman said the personal safety of the people using it is paramount but that the trust would have the ability to switch off the lights in each level of the car park if they are not required.
He added that in terms of a potential private unit, the proposed site is currently occupied by buildings that would be demolished if the plans went ahead.
"One of the requirements of the private unit is that it will be self-sufficient – this includes having its own car park," he said.