The size of a new multi-storey car park being built at a Black Country hospital is being more than doubled to meet demand – but has been branded a ‘waste of money’ by its own chief executive.
The cost of the car park at Wolverhampton’s New Cross Hospital has rocketed from £1.9 million to £4m as the number of spaces is increased from 250 to 527.
But the hospital’s chief executive David Loughton said he was ‘frustrated’ so much money was being spent as it emerged 500 staff are travelling less than 1km by car to work each day. He said staff living close to the site should use public transport and claimed the money could have gone towards three MRI scanners and six CT scanners.
The car park is being made even bigger to compensate for spaces that will be lost when the new £25m A&E is built at the hospital.
Mr Loughton said he did not believe a new car park should have to be built at all, but conceded he needed to meet a growing demand for spaces.
It comes as even more patients are expected to use the site as part of a £36 million investment that will see it take control of Cannock Hospital.
Mr Loughton said: “The reason we are building it in the first place is that we have more people visiting and using our services.
“I have to say that it is a waste of public money and we need to get more people to use public transport. We have a lot of staff that will travel short distances into work by car and I find it very frustrating.”
From last year staff were charged £252 to park on-site, when previously they could park for free – but Mr Loughton says this has not stopped workers using their cars. He travels to work every day by train and bus from near Warwick and says others should follow his example.
He added: “There is a very good bus service and you would never have to wait more than three minutes, but very few people seem willing to change their ways. We have got 500 staff travelling less than 1km to work in the car. When I implemented car parking charges for staff I thought it would reduce that number.”
There have been long-running complaints from nearby residents about cars clogging up streets around the Wolverhampton Road hospital, as drivers shun the fees to park on the road.
The new A&E is being created to cope with a rising number of patients, as part of a wider £60 million improvement plan.