Parking charges might have to be introduced at Uckfield Community Hospital if a new housing development proceeds at Harlands Farm Estate.
Wealden Council’s planning committee north meets today and is being told the NHS has said: “We do not want to implement parking measures, the hospital is here for the community, and to charge patients to receive care is something that we strongly oppose, however this development will leave us no alternative and that fact should be made aware to the public.”
The NHS fears people living on the new development will park their cars at the hospital to cut their journey time into town.
It says driving from the proposed site entrance to the town centre during rush hour traffic took 24-28 minutes.
Driving from the hospital car park at the same time of day to the same place took six to eight minutes.
The NHS says: “The traffic into the town centre is backed up daily from the town centre right back past the Highlands pub roundabout (the external entrance to site), and the additional houses planned will only add to this disruption.
“Given this information it is clear that the hospital would be impacted significantly. Residents will predictably park in the hospital, and walk through to the estate to save them 18-20 minutes a day sitting in traffic and this will have a severely detrimental impact on the services we provide.”
The officer response to the comment seems to have missed the point being made by the NHS because it says: “Whilst the concerns of the adjoining NHS property are noted, it is unclear why they consider parking will be an issue as the connection between the estate and the hospital is pedestrian/cyclist and emergency access only.
“There will be no ability for general vehicular traffic to go between the application site and the hospital.”
The officer response adds that views of the application site have been submitted from the hospital building but says: “The site was an allocated site in full knowledge of the proximity to the hospital and outline planning permission was granted.
“The buildings are sited back from the boundary and a three metre planted buffer along the northern boundary will also be provided.”
Members of Wealden Council’s planning committee north are being recommended to approve the 119 new homes on the Harlands Estate. See: Councillors recommended to approve 119 new homes on Harlands Estate.