Harrogate hospital defends new parking charges
Last updated Sep 15, 2023
The hospital car park.

Harrogate District Hospital has defended its new parking charges and said the ticketless system is reducing congestion.

Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust introduced a new system and charges on September 6.

The old entry barriers have been replaced by automatic number plate recognition.

Visitors are now entitled to 20 minutes of free parking. It then costs £4 for up to two hours, £6.50 for up to four hours, £8.50 for up to six hours and £11 for up to 24 hours.

The new prices have attracted criticism on social media, with some complaining £4 is a lot to pay for a visit that might only last for 25 minutes.

Visitors previously received 30 minutes free parking and were then charged £2.60 for up to 90 minutes, £3.80 for up to two-and-a-half hours and £6.10 for up to four-and-a-half hours.

A trust spokesperson said:

“Increasing parking charges is never an easy decision to make, but we have to ensure that our car parks are well maintained and safe for patients, visitors and staff.

“All funds gathered from parking charges are invested back into the delivery of patient care and maintaining facilities, such as car parks across the trust.

“Over the next five years we anticipate that we will need to invest significant sums in our car parks and security, and the revenue raised through car parking charges will help us to fund this work.

Hospital car park barrier

The old barrier has been removed.

The spokesperson added the trust chose to keep free parking or concessionary rates for certain patients and visitors including blue badge holders, patients receiving cancer treatment, parents visiting the paediatric ward or special care baby unit, and those in receipt of benefits.

They added:

“Parking is also free for the first 20 minutes allowing for patients to be dropped off and collected without the driver needing to pay for parking. It also encourages drivers from waiting in the car park after dropping someone off, ensuring that other people who require our services can find a parking space.”

The spokesperson said car park management firm Parkingeye had not issued any parking charge notices to date because the hospital was operating a grace period.

He did not say how long this would last.

Asked how the new system was working, the spokesman said:

“The new ANPR parking system is helping eliminate congestion on Lancaster Park Road through the removal of barriers which has improved flow into the hospital grounds.

“We welcome feedback from users so that we can further improve on their experience of our new car parking system.”

The ANPR system will be expanded into the trust’s staff car parks in October, where staff will be charged a monthly fee to use the car parking facilities calculated on their vehicle’s emissions, their pay band and their contracted hours.

Read more: