Parking headache at Sunderland’s Monkwearmouth Hospital

Monkwearmouth Hospital - Newcastle Road, Sunderland.
Monkwearmouth Hospital - Newcastle Road, Sunderland.
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FED-UP neighbours have been left seeing red over parking problems next to a Wearside hospital.

Councillors are today calling for action to help resolve the issue.

l-r Councillors Bob Francis, John Wiper and Geoirge Howe concerned about the parking in Elizabeth Street, outside Monkwearmouth Hospital, Sunderland.

l-r Councillors Bob Francis, John Wiper and Geoirge Howe concerned about the parking in Elizabeth Street, outside Monkwearmouth Hospital, Sunderland.

Fulwell councillors George Howe, Bob Francis and John Wiper have been working with residents living in the streets surrounding Monkwearmouth Hospital since April last year.

The Sunderland Conservative members say parking is a constant annoyance for residents of Elizabeth Street and Bartram Street, and despite meetings with City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust (CHS) and Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust Staff (NTW), which both use the hospital site, a solution has not been found.

“It’s reached the stage where nothing is being done,” said Coun Howe. “Residents are now calling out for a public inquiry into the problem.”

The councillors said that earlier this year, they were told that CHS staff would be leaving the site within six to 12 months – but they are still there.

A spokesman for CHS said: “We are not aware of receiving any formal complaints at CHS relating to parking issues at Monkwearmouth Hospital.

“However, representatives of CHS recently attended meetings with local councillors, residents, and the Northumberland, Tyne & Wear Trust (NTW) to support efforts in finding solutions to car parking at the site.

“CHS have a small proportion of staff and a number of outpatients who use the Monkwearmouth facilities – the majority of the site is the mental health trust’s – and we are promoting the use of park and ride or public transport to minimise parking issues in the area.

“We are also working with colleagues at NTW, who are extending on-site parking facilities, with a view to allocating some spaces to CHS.

“CHS is looking at moving its existing outpatient facility at Monkwearmouth to an alternative site, and an update on progress was reported to the above mentioned meeting earlier this week.”

A spokesman for Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust said it had received a number of complaints about the parking situation.

“The Trust continues to work closely with those who live near Monkwearmouth Hospital and Sunderland City Council to look at ways we can improve traffic safety and parking for local residents,” he said.

“We’ve recently met council officials and will be having further discussions with them next week as part of a working group, where parking is one of the main issues.”

He added: “One of the measures we have introduced is a free park and ride scheme which operates from the car park at the Stadium of Light football stadium, which is open to staff and patients. Also, following the completion of a new facility at the hospital, an additional 60 parking spaces have now become available.

“Some Trust staff have parking permits which allow them to park at all our sites across the region. However, we are looking at innovative ways to promote alternative forms of transportation by encouraging people to use public transport and also car sharing.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all residents for their patience and hope we can continue to work together for a positive solution.”

Neighbourhood Inspector Tony Carty said police are also aware of the problem.

“We are aware of local residents’ concerns about parking issues, and we are working with the council to resolve those issues,” he said.

“When we are informed that vehicles are parked unlawfully or are causing an obstruction, we will always take action.”