Welwyn Hatfield Council to charge for free car park

TICKET machines costing �60,000 are to be installed to stop hospital visitors using a nearby car park.

Welwyn Hatfield Council is due to spend the huge sum at King George V (KGV) Playing Fields car park, off Beehive Lane in WGC.

The currently free car park is a godsend for neighbours of the hospital as it stops staff, patients and visitors parking on the streets outside their homes.

In 2008, both councillors and hospital bosses advised drivers to park there as problems with cars blocking Ascots Lane became extremely dangerous.

The council failed to announce its plans and the information only came to light after an enquiry from opposition leader Margaret Birleson.

She said she and fellow Hollybush ward councillor Lynn Chesterman, responsible for the area, were shocked at not being consulted.

She told the WHT: “There’s been no discussion, consultation or a report on this.

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“Both Lynn and I have been supporting residents in having off-street parking around Beehive Lane, Howlands, Mount Way, Ryelands and The Wade.

“People who visit the QE2 Hospital have been encouraged to use the free car park in KGV to deter parking in these residential areas, there’s even a parking sign pointing to KGV.”

She said to add insult to injury council contractor Finesse would keep any income generated from the new ticket machines.

In an email response to Cllr Birleson, a council officer explained: “The KGV car park management system and lighting capital scheme is for new ticket machines with lighting to enable KGV users to be able to park their cars.

“This has been a problem as the public tend to use this currently free car park when visiting the QE2, and there is often no spaces left for people who are actually using KGV.

“The lighting is to deter vandalism and make people feel safer at night.”

The council has yet to decide on a pricing structure for charging people to use the KGV Playing Fields car park.

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