Our transport correspondent, JEREMY CLACKSON, on a rapid U-turn in the hospital car park
Just days after Inside Croydon highlighted how the management at Mayday Hospital had slapped parking charges on holders of blue badges, they have now slammed on the hand brake and gone quickly into reverse, returning to the previous policy of offering free parking in designated bays.
Signs had gone up around the car park last week, ahead of the Easter weekend, warning that blue badge-holders could use reserved parking bays, but that they would be expected to pay a fee and display the receipt, in common with all other car park users.
The hospital website struggled to keep pace with the changes and for a couple of days continued to reflect the previous no-charge policy. Only after a volunteer from the Croydon Disability Forum had written to the management regarding the confusion caused by the conflicting information was the page removed after Good Friday.
But yesterday, the hospital website restored its parking information page, and its previous policy, although with an important adjustment.
John Goulston, the chief executive of Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, had received complaints on Tuesday at the “appalling” imposition of parking charges on blue badge-holders, with an imbecilic policy which effectively invited the disabled or their drivers to park their cars – for free, as they are entitled – on the congested roads around the hospital.
By the time Croydon South Tory MP Chris Philp was contacting the Trust yesterday to air his concerns, the fee-charging policy had been abandoned.
There is a suggestion that the Trust had failed to conduct any sort of consultation on the introduction of charges for blue badge-holders before the signs went up.
The hospital website has been updated to explain the current situation: “Fifteen designated spaces are free and only for drivers or passengers with a disability who display a valid Blue Badge. If the disabled spaces are in use, Blue Badge holders can use other spaces but must pay the hourly car park charges.” Those are our italics: this second sentence represents a change in the previous policy, which would allow blue badge-holders to park anywhere in the car park for free.
Inside Croydon contacted Mayday – or as they style themselves, Croydon University Hospital – for a formal explanation of this rapid U-turn, but they were unable to provide a response by the time of publication.
The allocation of just 15 of the hospital’s 400 spaces for the use of the disabled may become a matter of some contention.
Mayday’s website boasts that it has received an “Award of Excellence issued by the Disabled Parking Accreditation”, though it may now struggle to maintain that status.
Under the recently adopted London Plan, those operating car parks are encouraged to meet standards which require at least 5 per cent of total spaces to be allocated to the disabled. Shopping and recreation centres are recommended to provide 6 per cent for blue badge-holders.
Mayday’s 15 spaces represents less than 4 per cent.
Perhaps someone should drop another note to Goulston to nudge him in the right direction to provide at least an additional 10 designated bays for blue badge holders?
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