New Cross Hospital parking charges double

Parking charges at Wolverhampton’s New Cross Hospital are being doubled for short-stay visitors as part of plans to bring in an extra £1.5 million a year, while free parking for disabled people is being axed.

Parking charges at Wolverhampton’s New Cross Hospital are being doubled for short-stay visitors as part of plans to bring in an extra £1.5 million a year, while free parking for disabled people is being axed.

From today drivers will have to pay £2 to park between 15 minutes and an hour on site – double the current £1 charge.

It comes just months after bosses at the Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals Trust, which is trying to save £15m by March next year, hiked up prices for longer stays by up to 50 per cent.

Chief executive David Loughton also revealed plans this week to charge staff up to £252 a year to park on-site, when previously workers could park for free.

He said today increases, which will also apply to disabled blue badge holders on the hospital’s 1,800-space car park, would bring in an estimated £1.5m.

Mr Loughton said: “I know it will be unpopular, but I have to save millions of pounds and I am trying to do it without directly affecting frontline services.

“I cannot keep building more and more car parking spaces. What I am trying to do is encourage people to use public transport to get here instead.

“People will say disabled people find it more difficult than others to use public transport, but there is widescale abuse of disabled parking badges.

“I see some people park outside my office in a disabled space and they can walk across the car park faster than I can.”

Nearby residents have raised fears the move could mean more people park in the surrounding streets.

Heath Town ward councillor Milkinder Jaspal, who has campaigned for action on behalf of residents over the issue, said: “I think it will be very detrimental to the surrounding areas. Already people park outside residents’ homes instead of paying to stay on the public car park.”

Fees for longer stays went up in February. Instead of £2 for two hours, visitors now pay £3 – a 50 per cent increase – while people staying for up to four hours pay £4 instead of £3 – a rise of 33 per cent.