Car parking is big headache for the Children’s Hospital

Visitors’ comments about the difficulty in finding parking spaces near Sheffield Children’s Hospital are being used to underline the need for a proposed multi-storey car park on the doorstep.

Hospital trust chief executive Simon Morritt has written to the council in support of an application by the University of Sheffield to develop the site of the existing surface level car park at the corner of Durham Road, Glossop Road and Clarkson Street.

The multi-storey would have up to 530 spaces, of which 100 would be for families of patients using out-patient and day case facilities at the Children’s Hospital as well as visitors to the wards.

Mr Morritt says a recent satisfaction survey of patients indicated parking as the single highest source of concern, with 78.7% of 220 respondents saying they were unable to find a parking space.

One person said parking facilities are “a huge problem”, another that they ended up parking “miles away”.

Another visitor said: “It is so difficult to park, especially when I take three children at once. They won’t walk a long distance.”

Another critic said the cost was also an issue. “As our son was on hospital for a week, and we spent £72 in car parking fees.”

Mr Morritt says: “The trust recognises the environmental importance of limiting vehicle congestion. For this reason, the car parking provision is designed to meet patients’ access requirement and not staff’s.

“The trust remains committed to encouraging our staff to come to work by public transport, cycling or walking where appropriate.”

The underground car park in the new wing of Sheffield Children’s Hospital will have 60 spaces for patients and visitors. The hospital currently has 30 public spaces in the grounds.

The University’s proposed eight-storey development - two floors are below ground - is also designed to replace parking spaces that will be lost when areas in front of the Arts Tower and around Hounsfield Road are landscaped.

However, several objections to the proposed multi-storey car park, which includes a small supermarket at ground level, have been submitted to the council.

One critic points to “the dominating visual impact of the buildings, the effect on traffic flow and increase in hazards, the unnecessary retail space and the overall environmental impact”.

Another says: “Without a doubt there will be increases in traffic in an area already highly congested and without incorporation of an improved public transport scheme.”

One objector warns of worsening a level of air quality that is already unacceptable. “Car based commuting to the University area needs to be reduced rather than increased.”