A five-year battle to combat the parking problems that have plagued Scarborough Hospital is finally at an end as work will begin next month on a new 262-space, £1 million extension to its car park.
The work should be completed in March 2014 and give the hospital more than 800 spaces for visitors to use.
James Hayward, director of facilities at the hospital trust, said the current car park was not fit for purpose.
He said: “Scarborough Hospital’s car park is simply not good enough. We know this. “It is the one thing we have heard time and again from users of the hospital and now everything is in place and we are finally able to start work in November.”
He added: “With a fair wind we hope it will be completed in March next year and the cost of the project is about £1 million.”
Mr Hayward was speaking at Scarborough Council’s Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee when he announced the diggers would finally be moving in.
For years, at busy times the hospital’s car park would fill up very quickly, forcing many patients to park on streets near to the hospital.
The Scarborough News was inundated with patients’ stories of parking problems, including one woman who spent nearly an hour looking for a space with her sick mother in the car.
The York Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust will now lease the land at the field to the rear of the main car park in Woodlands Drive, at a cost of £20,000 per year from North Yorkshire County Council to provide the 262 extra spaces.
The former Scarborough Local Involvement Network (LINK), which was disbanded earlier this year, had been fighting for five years for the car park to be brought up to standard. Speaking earlier this year its chairman Leo McGrory said that if the car park was built it would “make a big difference to people and help restore people’s faith in the hospital and the health trust.”
Cllr Janet Jefferson, who sits on the Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee, said: “This has been an issue for a long time so it is certainly very welcome news for users of the hospital.
“At times it would be impossible to get parked there, and while people could take the bus those with limited mobility would have no choice but to go in a car or pay the added expense of getting a taxi.
“I’m very happy that after five years the extension is now being built.”