Concerns over ‘monstrous’ Royal Lancaster Infirmary car park plans

An artist's impression of the proposed new RLI car park.
An artist's impression of the proposed new RLI car park.

Controverisal plans for a “monstrous” new multi-storey car park for staff at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary will come under discussion next week.

The proposals, which will be looked at by city councillors at a planning meeting on Monday, also include a single storey day nursery at the site.

It is suggested that the work would also alleviate parking problems for visitors to the hospital.

Planning officers have recommended the scheme be given the go-ahead.

The proposal has three main components, all of which are intended to improve the level of available on-site parking for staff and visitors associated with the RLI.

Alterations would be made to the existing visitor car park comprising regrading, reconfiguration and redesign to provide additional parking spaces to a total of 242; improvements to pedestrian facilities (pathways/crossings) and provision of cycle/motorcycle parking.

The plans include a new multi-storey staff car park over six decks to the back of Medical Unit 2, including cycle parking and four electric vehicle charging spaces, as well as the relocation and erection of new nursery building and external play area with drop-off facilities and parking provision.

This provides a total of 788 parking bays including 11 designated bays – an increase in 524 staff car parking spaces overall in this location. The proposal includes 12 additional cycle parking bays next to the proposed multi-storey and proposals to improve the lighting along the existing cycle path which runs to the north of the existing staff car park area.

The city council had received 15 letters of objection to the scheme.

Concerns include increased congestion, noise and air pollution; the plans not supporting sustainable travel, an inadequate Travel Plan, increase risk of crime to neighbouring properties, detrimental impact on neighbouring homes due to being overbearing, subsequent loss of light and increased noise/light pollution; a lack of need for the staff parking proposed (outside Monday-Friday 9-5 the car park is virtually empty).

Others said the multi-storey car park plans were excessive in scale, out of proportion (described as “monstrous”) and will have a detrimental impact on the skyline, the conservation area and its setting and the enjoyment of Lancaster canal.

Scotforth West ward councillor Abi Mills has said that despite being fully aware of the need to address parking issues in neighbouring areas of Greaves, the Travel Plan submitted is inadequate and fails to demonstrate the trust is committed to a shift from car use to sustainable transport.

A letter of support has been received from county councillor for Lancaster East Lizzi Collinge, who said the scheme will reduce hospital staff parking in other areas of the city, particularly in the residential areas of Moorlands and Primrose, as well as improve parking for visitors and patients including increased provision for disabled motorists.