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West Suffolk Hospital parking problems: New attempt to find a cure with public meeting

A public meeting has been organised to help find a solution to the long-term problem of staff and visitors from West Suffolk Hospital parking in residential areas.

Cllr Richard Rout says it is the ‘number one issue’ he is contacted about by residents, who feel the matter has escalated in recent years and is affecting road safety.

He has dedicated all of his £30,000 highways budget to design and implement a solution and wants to discuss options in a public meeting at Southgate Community Centre, in Caie Walk, on Friday, January 31, at 7pm.

Councillor Richard Rout. Picture by Mark Westley
Councillor Richard Rout. Picture by Mark Westley

Cllr Rout said they could look at double yellow lines, single yellow lines or a residents’ scheme.

“It’s discussing those with residents to see what they would support,” he said.

“I want to look at the whole area around the hospital. If you did something in just Barons Road or Sharp Road, it would just displace the cars.”

West Suffolk Hospital (27507359)
West Suffolk Hospital (27507359)

He would take forward the most popular option, draft a plan and publicly consult.

“Nobody’s really assigning blame here,” he added. “This meeting will look at ways in which we can put in regulations that make the roads safer and reduce some of this on-street parking.”

Resident Bob Jones, of Barons Road, said he welcomed the meeting as the issue had become ‘a lot worse in the last two to three years’.

“Cars are packed in and you get people cruising up and down looking for places to park,” he said.

“It’s actually quite difficult to get out (of your home) because if you get cars parked on both sides of the exit, you’re having to edge out hoping there isn’t another car coming along and people are still driving quite fast along the road.

“There’s an accident waiting to happen,” said Mr Jones.

Cllrs Ann Williamson and Patrick Chung as well as representatives from Suffolk Highways, West Suffolk Council and the hospital are due to attend the meeting.

Craig Black, executive director of resources at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Though we have no authority over public roads, we want to continue our work with the community on this, listen to their views, and provide support where we are able.”

The hospital runs a staff park and ride and has invested in more spaces.