Plans to ease parking congestion at Norfolk hospital approved

Plans to relieve car parking congestion at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital were granted yesterday with the approval of 350 temporary spaces.

South Norfolk Councillors unanimously approved the proposals on agricultural land to the west of the hospital at Colney, despite some concerns about traffic management and calls for more people to use public transport to get to the site.

A planning committee granted the extra car parking, which has permission for the next ten years. Councillors were told that by the time the temporary permission had expired there was likely to be new hospital buildings on the land, which is earmarked for research and development use.

The proposals received no opposition from Norfolk County Council highway officials, parish councillors or neighbours. However, Norwich City Council submitted last minute concerns surrounding traffic management and the delivery of sustainable transport for the Norwich Research Park (NRP).

Mike Carpenter, of Bidwells, agent for the applicant Bullen Developments, said there was a 'desperate' need for additional car parking at the hospital.

'There is a tremendous incentive to shift people on to other modes of transport. Since 2003 there has been a 78pc increase in staff, a 39pc increase in inpatients and 38pc increase in outpatients,' he said.

Mr Carpenter added that an outline planning application for the NRP south development was set to submitted in October and the site of the temporary car park would be used for hospital development within the next ten years, which would include extra permanent parking.

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He added that the new car park would be designed to a 'high standard' with a hard surface, lighting and CCTV. Staff will be encouraged to use the new car park, whilst additional disabled and mother and toddler car parking will be created closer to the hospital site.

The plans were approved on condition that a pedestrian crossing is added to the scheme across the main entrance to the site.

Tony Palmer, who represents Diss, welcomed the proposals because it was 'sheer chaos' trying to get a parking space when he visited the hospital.

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