West Suffolk Council stops accepting NHS parking permits at its parks as demand for spaces increases
A council has stopped accepting parking passes for NHS staff at its parks.
West Suffolk Council allowed use of the MHCLG permits, issued to NHS staff, in the car parks of its parks during the Covid-19 pandemic.
As well as at Brandon Country Park, Nowton Park, West Stow Country Park, they were also permitted at Hardwick Heath in Bury St Edmunds.
However, with a greater demand for spaces at the council's parks following the lifting of lockdown and the coronavirus vaccine roll-out, the authority has stopped accepting the permits.
They are still allowed in the council's town centre car parks and on-street locations.
A spokesman said: "During the pandemic, and to support our colleagues in the NHS at a time when our parks and open spaces were being less heavily used and so had capacity, West Suffolk Council allowed use of the MHCLG permits in the car park of its parks including at Hardwick Heath.
"With more people getting the Covid-19 vaccine and restrictions lifting we have seen a significant increase in the number of people returning to our parks for exercise and recreation which is good for both their physical and mental health.
"That has put pressure on our parking capacity at our parks and open spaces, and we need to meet this increased need.
"While we will continue to allow the MHCLG permits in our town centre car parks and on-street locations for genuine medical/care staff, in consultation with the hospital, we have stopped accepting them at our parks including nearby Hardwick Heath and Nowton Park.
"This does not affect paid for park permits which are bought by regular parks visitors."