Sunderland hospital parking problems spread

Some of the residents of Ewesley Road, Sunderland, who are complaining about the parking in the street.
Some of the residents of Ewesley Road, Sunderland, who are complaining about the parking in the street.
Have your say

NEIGHBOURS living close to Sunderland Royal Hospital say their ongoing parking nightmare is refusing to go away.

Those living near the Chester Road site say that despite attempts to curb issues with hospital staff and visitors parking in their streets, the traffic is worse than ever.

A multi-story car park is being built in the hospital grounds which will increase capacity by 40 per cent.

Work began on the development late last year and is expected to be completed by the end of this summer, although it does mean that hundreds of spaces are currently out of use.

But neighbours living nearby said traffic chaos is blighting each day as the problem is dispersed further across the area.

In recent years, Sunderland City Council have introduced a phased parking scheme, whereby residents in certain streets have been able to vote for the measure and then buy permits for parking.

But Ewesley Road, yards from the Royal, is not included in the scheme at present because enough residents did not vote for it in the original ballot on the scheme five years ago.

Mum Sarah Green, of Ewesley Road, says not enough is being done by the city council to alleviate the problem for those living close to the hospital grounds.

“It’s getting quite dangerous and I’ve had to call the police out a couple of times,” said Mrs Green.

“There are some people working at the hospital who will be in the street waiting for us to leave at 8am, parking in front of our homes and then leaving them there til 6pm or even later.

“The council just aren’t doing enough to sort this.”

Tory councillor Lee Martin, who represents Barnes ward, argues that the current phased approach should not have been done in a phased way.

He said: “The permit scheme is a good thing in my opinion, but it’s being done in the slowest and most protracted way possible. By using a phased approach the council are just dragging out the agony for residents.

“For the streets that now do have the permit scheme in place, it has transformed the lives for people there.”

SUNDERLAND City Council and Sunderland Royal Hospital today responded to residents latest complaints.

Councillor James Blackburn, portfolio holder for city services at Sunderland City Council, said: “A second phase of the Sunderland Royal Hospital Parking Management Scheme was introduced in September 2013.

“Plans are being prepared for a third phase to be introduced later this year, subject to consultation with residents and businesses.

“Following survey work last year, parking data from Ewesley Road is being evaluated.

“Vehicles that are parked in the scheme without a permit are liable for a Penalty Charge Notice and the council continues with enforcement in the zones.

“The permit-based parking management scheme has been welcomed by the Barnes, Pallion and Millfield Residents’ Association.

“The association worked very closely with councillors and officers in developing the scheme and it continues to do so.

“More than 500 permits have been issued and residents and businesses are always welcome to contact the council to discuss parking in their communities.”

A spokesman for Sunderland Royal Hospital said: “Construction of our multi-storey car park is intended to help meet the challenges posed by increased traffic on our site, and the need to provide constant access for patients and visitors.

“We appreciate that until the work is complete, all car users and those in the immediate neighbourhood, may experience some short-term inconvenience.

“Staff are encouraged to seek alternatives to car use and we offer extensive support – including park and ride, Metro discounts and other alternatives.

“Staff are also encouraged to park sympathetically when they have to leave their cars offsite and to appreciate that, even if there are no legal restrictions, taking up public parking spaces outside the homes of local residents, can be annoying.”