A new multi-storey car park will be built at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary in the hope it will be better equipped to cope with parking demands.
The plans, which aim to improve the level of available on-site parking for staff and visitors, have been approved by Lancaster City Council.
A six-storey car park will be built at the back of Medical Unit 2 as well as the relocation of the nursery into a new single storey day nursery.
Built from a mixture of concrete and cladding the car park will include 1,500 spaces, 95 of these being on the top deck.
Improvements will also be made to the existing visitor car park to provide additional parking spaces of up to 242 spaces.
Cycle parking and four electric vehicle charging spaces, and an external play area with drop-off facilities and parking provision will be included.
“I think if we don’t properly support this, it’s the last chance saloon for the NHS,” said Coun Sheila Denwood at the city council’s planning committee. “In Greaves and in Scotforth drivers going to the hospital come up from there to park because there is no where else to park and probably we will find eventually we will see improvements but we won’t know that if we don’t give it an opportunity.
“I believe they deserve a chance and I am going to support it whatever anybody else says.”
The city council received 15 letters of objection including concerns over congestion, noise, air pollution and the plans not supporting sustainable travel.
Coun Dave Brookes expressed concern over the loss of heritage, the general visual impact and the scale of the building.
“I am not saying I don’t think there should be a car park, I think I could probably live with three to four storey which may be less visible from the canal,” he said.
Coun Jon Barry questioned whether nearby streets would receive residential parking in relation to the application.
This comes after Lancashire County Council asked the hospital trust for £10,000 for a review and implementation of residential parking areas around the site.
Council officer Mark Cassidy said there was no guarantee of knowing which streets would benefit until the review was conducted.
A split decision was recommended by Coun Brookes to keep the visitor car park but refuse the staff block. This was voted out and the application went ahead.
Around 2,700 staff work at the RLI; 2,000 are on site on a typical weekday and travel surveys show that 76 per cent of staff drive.
The plans are in condition to Park and Ride services changing to 15 minute frequencies, £10,000 for bus stop improvements, £75,000 towards improvements for pedestrians and cyclists and £6,000 for travel plan support, and the former remnants of the historic railway station platform be relocated.