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Southend Hospital parking charges totalled £1.2m in 2012

Southend Hospital made more than £1.2 million from its car parking charges last year, new figures have revealed, and the fees have forced the creation of a parking management scheme in the area around the hospital.

The hospital has been making increasing amounts of money from its car parking fees over the last three years, with charges totalling £707,400 in 2009-10, rising to £880,900 in 2010-11 and surpassing the £1 million mark last year.

Ric Morgan, independent councillor for Prittlewell, who lives near to the hospital, feels that charging people to park at a hospital is unfair. “Parking in hospitals is free in Wales and Scotland and if parking in hospitals were free in England it would solve a lot of problems for residents,” he told the Echo.

“The reason we had to put in a parking management scheme around the hospital is because people drive up, think ‘no thanks’ then go and park outside. Charging for hospital parking is like putting a tax on sick people,” Mr Morgan added.

However, Colin Cadwallader, director of estates and facilities at the hospital, told the publication that the car parking fees were necessary in order to cover the cost of the maintenance of the parking options offered by the hospital. “Our 900-space multi-storey car park cost £7 million and opened in 2009,” he said.

“Maintenance covers our entire transport and parking provision, including roads and pathways. Our premises are heavily used and we are about to spend about £500,000 on resurfacing work,” added Mr Cadwallader.

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