Parking changes may mean Bridgnorth health staff ‘can’t afford to go to work’
Patients and staff at a Bridgnorth doctors surgery would be hit under proposals to change parking charges, according to bosses.
Shropshire Council is currently undertaking a 12-week public consultation on its proposed new parking strategy.
The move could see a set price per hour 'linear' system introduced – with the Bridgnorth Smithfield car park costing 70p an hour.
This means some staff who work at Bridgnorth Medical Practice in the Northgate Health Centre for more than ten hours, will be charged at least £7 a day – more than double the £3 it costs currently.
Proposals are also in place to remove the 15 minute 'pop and shop' period parking.
READ MORE ON THIS SUBJECT:
Bosses at the practice, which is next to Bridgnorth Hospital, say some staff "could have to question whether they can afford to go to work."
Assistant manager of the practice, Dude Newell, said: "We're selfishly thinking of our patients. The ones that need to be here a long time are generally very poorly and a lot of the time they won't be working.
"It's going to be cheaper elsewhere but if some people are unwell they can't walk from the Innage car park. And that car park supplies three schools, it's incredibly busy.
"Someone worked out if you work over 21 hours a week it would cost you £1,000 in parking a year.
"Some of our part time staff are going to have to question whether they can afford to go to work because it will be such a big increase. And the people that lose out are the patients.
"There's going to be a rise in illegal parking. There's no way people are going to pay £7 a day to visit Bridgnorth – they're just not going to do it."
The proposals relate to all 78 Shropshire Council-run car parks in all market towns.
The Bridgnorth Sainsbury's car park nearby will cost £1 an hour. Residents are invited to submit their views until the end of the consultation on October 17.
Shropshire Council says any extra money generated from these new proposals would be reinvested in improvements to car parks and to the parking service.
Practice manager added: "Some of our staff are only on minimum wage at the minute and that's a huge increase. I'm not on minimum wage and it's a massive increase for me.
"I, a couple of the receptionists as well, do 10 to 12 hour shifts. For 10 hours it would be £7 a day – it's Birmingham city centre prices.
"Even at the £3 rate it was about £570 for a year and it's a lot of money to find at once. You expect a small increase but not more than double."
Steve Davenport, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We’re proposing a number of changes to our parking strategy, including what and how we charge for on-street and off-street parking. We think these proposals which will make parking arrangements – both in car parks on on-street – simpler, clearer and more consistent, but these are proposals at this stage and we want to know what people think.
"Understandably many people will focus on proposed changes to parking charges. However, the focus is very much on providing an improved parking service that makes use of the latest technology, is consistent across the county, makes it easier for people to understand how much it costs to park, and provides a variety of new ways to pay. The proposals will also help us to reduce congestion and pollution in our market towns."