Hopes and fears over latest Sunderland hospital parking plan

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A CONTROVERSIAL parking scheme labelled a “death knell” to businesses and the end of a “parking nightmare” by residents is to enter its second phase.

People living in the streets surrounding Sunderland Royal Hospital have long suffered from parking and congestion problems, as hospital visitors and staff park outside their homes to avoid parking charges.

After restrictions under Parking Management Scheme (PMS) 1 were introduced in a number of Barnes streets, residents living nearby have seen an increase in parking in unrestricted streets outside the zones.

A meeting of Sunderland Council’s planning and highways committee heard the views of objectors and supporters to further phases of the scheme.

Objector Scott Bentley, of Cleveland Road, said: “The implementation of PMS 2 is likely to disperse parking problems and create problems in adjacent streets.”

Shaista Shah, of Shah Stores in Fordland Place, said she was speaking on behalf of many businesses around Hylton Road, in objecting to the scheme.

“The proposed parking with double yellow lines is going to be detrimental to these businesses.

“I run a news agent and off-licence and passing trade is 30 per cent of all trade. In these tough economic times Sunderland Council should put more support behind people who are still struggling to keep in business.”

She added: “Town centres have been decimated by parking restrictions. We feel it’s a death knell if we put any type of restrictions in place.”

Supporting the scheme, Susan Adamson, chairman of the Barnes, Pallion and Millfield Residents’ Association, called the streets surrounding Sunderland Royal Hospital a “parking nightmare.”

She said the majority of residents consulted for phase two and three, have voted in favour.

“They are looking forward to their turn to be included in the scheme,” Ms Adamson added. “The residents’ association overwhelmingly supports phase two.”

Kate Wilson, of Belmont Road, which was included in phase one, said: “It’s wonderful. It was like looking out on a carpark, but we now have our street back.

“The problems have been resolved. Walking or driving along these streets is no longer an obstacle course.

“The scheme only operates two hours a day, which removes all day commuter parking. Customer parking for businesses will become easier and not more difficult.”

Councillors agreed not to uphold objections that cannot be resolved within the limits of the proposed parking scheme.