A hospital boss has played down fears that a lack of car parking in Cannock could affect plans to expand the town’s hospital.
Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust is proposing to take on services at Cannock Chase Hospital which would see an influx of 200 more staff and an increase in beds and operations carried out as part of the shake-up of troubled Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.
Cannock MP Aidan Burley claimed controversial plans drawn up by Cannock Chase Council to build restaurants and cafés on Beecroft Road car park, which is close to the hospital, could affect those proposals.
He said the changes at the hospital would mean more people using the hospital and more people needing to park close by.
But New Cross Hospital chief David Loughton, who wants to spend up to £23 million revamping the Brunswick Road site, said he did not see the development or current car parking in Cannock as a major problem.
He said: “I am confident that one way or another I will be able to sort any issues around car parking so that we can provide the services in Cannock.” It comes after more than 2,000 people signed a petition opposing the plans for the car park to become a shopping complex and market research showed big name stores and developers were not interested in it.
Cannock Chase Council is now considering it for mixed use, including restaurants and cafés.
Mr Burley said: “I am concerned that this could harm the plans for the hospital. Beecroft Road car park is used by shoppers, council workers and visitors to Cannock Chase Hospital.
“If the council insists on carrying on with this vanity project it could scupper the deal. I understand that residents have contacted David Loughton, the chief executive of the Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust, to voice their concerns about the potential loss of parking.”
Allport Action Alliance formed last month to call on Cannock Chase Council to drop its proposals to develop the Beecroft Road car park.
Town regeneration boss Councillor Diane Todd has previously said there has been ‘scaremongering’ about homes being demolished, but admitted it could not be ruled out for the future.
Under proposals from administrators Cannock Hospital would be taken over by the Royal Wolverhampton Trust with Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust being dissolved.
Mr Loughton would move more inpatient services to Cannock from Wolverhampton with a free shuttle bus between the two towns for patients.
The move has largely been welcomed by residents in Cannock and will see 85 per cent of the hospital used, more than double what it is now.
Between £60 million and £70m in losses will need to be picked up by the Department of Health if crisis-hit Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust is dissolved under the administrators’ plans.
Mid Staffordshire last year needed a Government bailout of £20m, and an investigation by health regulator Monitor found that in order to break even, the trust would need to make £53m of savings in five years.