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Hospital Applies for 598 Space Multi-Storey Car Park But University Objects

Published on: 18 Jul, 2021
Updated on: 18 Jul, 2021

By Hugh Coakley

After years of trying to solve parking issues for its 3,900 staff, the Royal Surrey County Hospital has applied for permission for a six-storey car park. The multi-storey car park would be located south of Rosalind Franklin Close, near the main hospital on Gill Avenue and have 598 parking bays.

Illustrative view of the proposed staff car park on Plot 23.

The hybrid submission (21/P/00817) also includes an outline application for a new “state of the art specialist cancer care and diagnostic centre to provide private care to the patients of Guildford”, associated car parking for visitors and patients and 15 disabled parking bays on the main hospital site.

Surrey University and the Surrey Research Park are objecting to the proposal saying it would be “damaging to the University, its students” and the Research Park.

Six-storey proposed car park with cancer centre in the foreground and existing student housing behind.

They say the “effect of the traffic from a substantial increase in hospital parking” has not been assessed and that the hospital are trying to turn the temporary consent for parking on Plot 23 into a permanent feature.

Surrey County Council and Highways England (HE) say they need more detail before they fully respond. HE expressed concern about “the additional traffic that is being added to the highly congested A3 Cathedral Junction and the local road network”.

The hospital say they need additional parking for visitors to the main site in Gill Avenue. With around 400 staff bays on the 1.3 hectare Plot 23 already, the new car park will add nearly 200 spaces, freeing up “additional visitor parking at the hospital”.

Aerial view of Plot 23. There is existing parking for around 400 cars. Google maps.

As the area is already used for parking with trees and vegetation on the perimeter, the designers say there will be a biodiversity net gain of around 95% with the new landscaping. Most of the existing trees will be retained with “removal of eight unremarkable trees which will be replaced with new planting”.

The application says the existing trees will be retained where possible.

But the Guildford Society, who are not opposed to the “improved parking”, have called the design “soulless” and have called for more detail to be provided. They also have concerns about the sustainability of the proposals, calling for electric vehicle (EV) charging points, solar panels on the roof and a review of the lighting design for the “24-hour facility”.

An online public consultation in February 2021 is said to have shown a “favourable” response from the 1,123 who provided feedback, around half of which worked at the hospital. 99% of those who filled in the multiple-choice questionnaire agreed more parking was needed with 85% considering additional traffic on the nearby roundabout would be acceptable if the parking were improved.

We have asked for comment from the political parties on Guildford Borough Council.

See: Letter: Support the Royal Surrey’s Plan for a Multi-storey Car Park, Royal Surrey Creating 100 More Parking Bays To Ease Congestion and Car Parking Charges Reduced At Royal Surrey.

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test 15 Responses to Hospital Applies for 598 Space Multi-Storey Car Park But University Objects

  1. Simon Firth Reply

    July 19, 2021 at 7:34 am

    I sort of agree, parking is a real issue at the hospital.

    But on the other hand, we live 10 mins away and are on a bus route into town past the hospital yet there are now just two buses a day that runs down Wood Street Village. And there is no decent cycle infrastructure into town or hospital either.

    I think public money is best spent elsewhere, once the alternative methods of transport are improved. Only then will I perhaps feel assured it is time to spend money on supporting the car.

  2. Christine Haigh Reply

    July 19, 2021 at 8:01 am

    I can’t see why providing more parking would generate more traffic. It would simply mean that everyone visiting the hospital could park on-site instead of taking up spaces in Tesco’s car park opposite and staff could have a dedicated area instead of fighting for spaces with the general public.

    I sincerely hope staff parking would be free.

  3. Ian Cornish Reply

    July 19, 2021 at 11:56 am

    Another option would be to use the park and ride facility next to the Surrey Sports Park once Servo returns it to normal use. Minor alterations to the bus route from the Park & Ride to include the hospital would allow this.

    • Clive Hamilton Reply

      July 19, 2021 at 8:58 pm

      Park and Ride is of no use to shift workers as most of them start and finish before such facilities are running. Nine to five staff should park off-site so that shift workers can park safely nearby and so that they are not the ones having to walk in poorly lit or dark walkways to their cars during hours of darkness.

    • Charlie Nicholls Reply

      July 23, 2021 at 10:01 am

      This assumes, of course, you all start from Guildford where the Park & Ride starts. It does not pass by or pick up from the majority of areas where staff work or patients live.

  4. Helen Wiltshire Reply

    July 19, 2021 at 4:22 pm

    What a brilliant idea. I’ve always thought that the hospital should have had a multi-story car park when it was built, it makes good sense. Hopefully, the council will not give in to the university for once.

    Try living in Beckingham road: full of students, cars parked on pavements, emergency service vehicles unlikely to gain access. It should be quiet at the moment as most of the students have gone home. Now it’s builders and gardeners most of the day.

    Think of the residents and our local hospital. I think it is more important to help our community think of the staff that have to try parking as for the cancer unit. It’s a must. We never know when we might need it.

    • Fiona Yeomans Reply

      July 21, 2021 at 11:04 am

      Agreed! Have never understood why there was no multistorey car park at the hospital instead of just the open park.

      A bit rich of the University of Surrey to object to the hospital increasing its buildings!

      We’re not blighted by the on-street parking as we live on the other side of the town centre and if we walk to a bus stop and then sit on the bus as it crawls along it takes up to an hour, as opposed to driving. What about those who can’t walk up and down hills to the bus stop?

  5. A Patel Reply

    July 19, 2021 at 5:07 pm

    Interesting that the university is objecting after they have built so many new student residents in the past 10 years.

  6. Sara Tokunaga Reply

    July 19, 2021 at 5:24 pm

    I cannot see how this car park is damaging to either Surrey University or the Research Park.

    I had the unenviable task of travelling to and from Guildford Park and Aldershot Road by bus. In the mornings, traffic would be jammed from The Chase to the hospital, due to the volume of traffic coming off the A3 at the Tesco roundabout and heading to the Research Park. In the evenings, traffic streamed from the Research Park and frequently would not let the bus out of the hospital.

    At present parking at the hospital is a nightmare for both staff and visitors. Anything that can be done to help alleviate the situation should be welcomed. I would also advise Surrey University to run a course for their students on how to cross the road, by foot or bicycle. The number of near misses I have seen is frightening.

  7. Ben Paton Reply

    July 20, 2021 at 10:24 am

    Surely the interests of the hospital trump the university’s?

    How typical that the university puts its own particular interests above an accurate appreciation of the facts and the public interest.

  8. Keith Francis Reply

    July 20, 2021 at 3:29 pm

    Gatwick airport has a 24-hour every day bus service (100) from neighbouring areas so why not something similar for Guildford hospital, maybe operated by Safeguard?

  9. Peter Elliott Reply

    July 21, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    I think the hospital car park is an excellent idea too. The university has a history of opposing all development apart from their own. I suppose they think this might have an adverse impact on their plans for a huge development on the Hog’s Back.

  10. Ian Dance Reply

    July 21, 2021 at 12:37 pm

    I worked at the RSCH from the time of its opening until March 1998. Having experienced the difficulty of parking from the outset I am surprised that this has not been requested before.

    Having served on the staff side of a committee for some years, when the management brought in the parking charge for staff we asked from the outset, “What is going to happen about extra spaces?” but the need was not thought necessary.

    I believe when the hospital was under construction a multi-story was muted but not allowed by planners. A pity they were so short-sighted. This is long long overdue.

    Why are the University of Surrey and Research Park objecting? Maybe it’s sour grapes.

  11. Tay-Jarl Andessen Reply

    July 21, 2021 at 2:48 pm

    Having this multi-storey car park would certainly make things a lot easier, primarily for the hospital staff.

    When I used to work in the physiotherapy department, it was quite normal to have to leave home around 45 minutes earlier than usual in order to stand a better chance of obtaining a parking place in the staff car park – and that was for an 8am start.

    The parking areas near the day surgery entrance at the back were always dicey where, in order to not be late for work, some people had no choice but to park wherever possible, and not in bays. That generated another hazard.

    Quite often scratches to cars were reported, as well as regular wing mirror detachment, as a result.

    I can not see how this will have any negative effects on either the Surrey Research Park or the university.

    If anything, surely the only effects will be positive.

    I can not help but think that the University of Surrey has got a little too big for its boots.

    Maybe they had earmarked the site for further possible student accommodation or suchlike?

  12. Charlie Nicholls Reply

    July 25, 2021 at 10:08 am

    Why is it that the University of Surrey has such control over what goes on in this town?

    It has built on the green belt, is expanding, is now stopping the hospital, a separate entity, from building its own car park and it has changed the bus provider for all users between Stoughton and Guildford with no input from the wider community who were using this bus to commute, shop and leisure long before the University took out a contract with them.

    In changing provider to Stagecoach from Arriva we now have no Arriva bus services in Stoughton. This means I cannot buy an Arriva day ticket and have to pay £5 to Stagecoach just to get into Guildford before catching my onward Arriva bus. Then I can buy the day ticket but until this happened the £5 getting into town would have been covered both journeys.

    The University’s decision has cost me £35 a week which is a further £1,750 a year in bus fares. This has cost me a job as I don’t have the salary to pay all this extra and now they want to interfere in the hospital’s plans when all the Royal Surrey is trying to do is to improve things.

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