MOTORISTS using Hinchingbrooke Hospital s car park should be able to pay when they leave, rather than face the prospect of parking fines, it has been suggested. Huntingdonshire District Council is conducting a study into parking arrangements at the Huntin

MOTORISTS using Hinchingbrooke Hospital's car park should be able to pay when they leave, rather than face the prospect of parking fines, it has been suggested.

Huntingdonshire District Council is conducting a study into parking arrangements at the Huntingdon hospital, looking for a more acceptable arrangements for patients, staff and visitors.

Currently the car park is managed by County Parking on a pay and display basis which has in the past led to complaints about "unfair parking fines" from people who have rushed to the hospital and not displayed a ticket, or have overstayed while visiting a loved one.

The parking arrangements could change should a new management team take over the running of the hospital - as is expected under the franchise plans currently being debated.

However, as the franchise debate will rumble on for at least the next three years, HDC's overview and scrutiny panel wants to see if parking can be improved short term (although it does not have the power to force any changes).

Among the suggestions is a system for people to pay as they leave the hospital and for the allocation of free parking permits (currently issued to parents and carers of children admitted to the children's unit) to be extended to patients' families in other wards.

Cambridgeshire Link, a body set up in September 2008 to represent the public on matters of health and social care, is working with HDC and believes improvements could be made.

Emma Stubbs from Cambridgeshire Link told The Hunts Post: "We have had comments from a number of members of the public that the parking situation at Hinchingbrooke Hospital is less than fair."

"But we have only just started looking into this issue. We have asked for a meeting with the hospital, but no date has been set."

Hinchingbrooke Hospital charges £2.60 for up to three hours and £5.20 for five hours to park and needs the net income from car parking - more than half a million pounds a year - to help balance the books.

Free parking at the hospital could also see an invasion of commuters parking at the site and walking to the station.

INFORMATION: How could parking be improved at Hinchingbrooke Hospital? Send your views to editor@huntspost.co.uk or write to The Hunts Post, 30 High Street, Huntingdon PE29 3TB.