New parking charges have come into force at a Peterlee Community Hospital after complaints by patients and residents.
The change comes following a campaign by Peterlee councillors, who asked North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust to adapt the tariff.
The hospital has made changes to the cost of parking on site after concerns were raised by those using the facility.
The new charges which came into effect at the hospital on O’Neill Drive on April 1, mean that drivers will be able to pay a fixed charge of £4 for a stay longer than three hours.
The trust agreed to make the change for a three- month trial period, after which the costs will be reviewed.
Now visitors will have 10 minutes free, then £1 for an hour, rising to £3 for three hours. Anything longer is £4.
Peter Mitchell, director of estates and facilities at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have had discussions with local councillors, police and highway officers, who have raised concerns around people parking on the road next to the car park.
“As a result of this we have agreed to amend the parking charges in the car park at the Peterlee Community Hospital for a three-month trial period – reducing the parking charge to £1 for an hour to encourage more people to use this car park.
“We will be reviewing the results of these changes over the next few weeks.”
Previously, residents at the hospital had the first 20 minutes for free or to pay £3 for up to 12 hours and £6 for 24 hours.
Or for multiple visits during 28 days there was a charge of £10.
Councillors Audrey Laing and Harry Bennett campaigned for the tariff change. Coun Laing said: “We have received complaints for a long time, and the residents have campaigned for something to be done.
“We approached the trust, who own the hospital, and after negotiation they have agreed to graduate the charge.
“We are very happy that the trust has agreed to do this and hope it will reduce the problem.”
But Coun Lee Cook, of the Peterlee North East Party, said he still believed parking should remain free at the hospital.
He said: “The changes are only temporary.
“It is good that they have acknowledged it is a problem, but I don’t think it is good enough, I think it should be totally free.”