Car park problems are so unhealthy

Pressure is growing on officials in Thetford to address car parking problems at a new multi-million pound health facility before it expands its outpatient services.

Pressure is growing on officials in Thetford to address car parking problems at a new multi-million pound health facility before it expands its outpatient services.

Staff and patients at the Thetford Community Healthy Living Centre have suffered parking gridlock and dozens have received £60 fines for using unauthorised neighbouring spaces since it opened in January.

Health chiefs at Norfolk PCT are now being urged to find ways of increasing car parking capacity at the £4.5m edge of town development, which is set to get additional outpatient and GP services in the near future.

Disgruntled patients fear that extra pressure will be put on the healthy living centre's 49 spaces when West Suffolk Hospital clinics such as orthopaedics, general surgery and gynaecology begin over the next few months.

They have also called for the improvement of car parking

signs and layout at the Croxton Road site after new visitors continue to be hit with £60 fines for using spaces at a neighbouring conference and business centre, which is owned by Keystone Development Trust.

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Jane Trett, whose 72-year-old father recently received a ticket from the Keystone Innovation Centre after attending a check-up at the healthy living centre following a bout of anxiety and depression, said: “There is not enough parking, but the biggest problem is that the two car parks are not clearly defined.”

Lynette Jull, from Thetford, was also given a £60 fine, which was later quashed, after parking in what she thought was overflow parking to attend an emergency maternity appointment.

The 27-year-old, who is now mum to six week old daughter Frera, said: “I think the whole car parking situation is disgusting. There are warnings, but they are small, high up and poorly signposted.”

Jonathan Cook, director of corporate services for Norfolk PCT, said the number of spaces at the healthy living centre had been determined by the local planning authority, but discussions were in place to increase the capacity.

“We are aware of local concerns and have been actively seeking solutions to resolve the problem.

“Following agreement with the leisure centre, our staff will be parking on an adjacent facility which will free up 15 to 20

spaces for patients and visitors,” he said.

Neil Stott, chief executive of Keystone Development Trust, added that the organisation had to manage its private car park for its business tenants and additional signs had been installed.