Sunderland's hospital parking scheme to be probed by planners over lack of permission

ParkingEye is playing catch up with planning regulations by seeking retrospective permission for a system already up and running in Sunderland.

Monday, 5th September 2016, 5:01 am
Updated Monday, 5th September 2016, 9:01 am
Sunderland Royal Hospital.

The firm has submitted a retrospective application for the parking meters and kit in use at Sunderland Children’s Hospital in Durham Road.

Another application has been put in to retain the system at Sunderland Eye Infirmary in Queen Alexandra Road, with a third expected to be sent to cover the one in place at Sunderland Royal in Chester Road.

The ParkingEye system is in operation at the city's eye infirmary.

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The NHS trust which runs the sites says it and the firm was “not made aware” at the time of installation that planning permission was needed.

The systems use automatic number plate recognition cameras, which are attached to lighting columns, to monitor cars which use the car park, with the planning applications also covering pay and display machine and storage cabinets.

The company uses its technology to fine drivers who have not bought a ticket correctly or stayed within the grounds for too long.

A spokeswoman for City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust said: “We and ParkingEye were not made aware at the time of installation that planning permission was required.

The ParkingEye system is in operation at the city's eye infirmary.

“We received correspondence at the end of June this year from the local authority and have worked closely with ParkingEye to enable them to submit retrospective applications which they have done very promptly.

“I understand that this issue has only been raised nationally in recent weeks and months and we are one of a number of sites around the country experiencing the same process.”

The eye hospital’s site offers patients access to 260 parking bays, six of them disabled.

The planning application states: “The proposal seeks to provide management of the existing car park to reduce car park abuse and ensure that spaces are available for genuine site users.

“The proposal will ensure that the existing car park is used more effectively and reduce the amount of abuse that currently occurs.”

The application for the Children’s Centre also says the same, with its car park offering 68 spaces and another two for those with disabled badges.

A planning application has also been submitted to South Tyneside Council for retrospective permission for the system at South Tyneside District Hospital.

Motorists hit by fines there have argued they should be reimburst their cash.