Published: 12:42, 24 February 2021
| Updated: 14:39, 24 February 2021
Fee-dodging drivers using a hospital are avoiding an NHS car park and taking up on-street spaces that residents have to pay for.
The designated car park at Buckland Hospital in Dover is often so empty youngsters are using it as a football pitch.
But across the road, a section of residents' parking bays are full up because hospital users are using them for free.
That's according to St Radigund's ward councillor John Haste who has taken the issue up with Dover District Council which monitors the on-street parking in the area.
Since 2004, Coombe Valley Road residents have to pay £65 a year to park their cars near their homes. That figure increases to £90 for a second car in that household.
Cllr Haste told Kentonline: "They are returning home to find they (the bays) are occupied by people avoiding the fee charged by the NHS in the official car park within the hospital grounds."
The car park is owned and managed by East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust (EKHUFT).
Asked whether bosses would consider scrapping fees or giving a one-hour free period to avoid residents losing their spaces, a spokesperson for the trust said there were no plans to change the fee structure at this time.
When a KentOnline reporter visited the car park, he found the overspill was sparsely used but the main car park appeared to be well used.
However, a large portion of those cars belonged to staff who use a permit to park there. The problem is brought about by patients and visitors who are ignoring the hospital spaces for a free option.
Cllr Haste said: "I am also concerned that as a way of saving money these people are getting out of their cars into a busy road at some risk.
"I don't have information about the accident record for that road, it is very busy for a lot of the day and although straight it varies in width a lot with insufficient space for two-way traffic in places which can cause erratic traffic movements.
"I think the streets further uphill in the residential area probably have sufficient unrestricted parking although the lady complaining to me about the situation initially had said that after a long day at work she would not find a space near to her house and would then have a long walk back to the car."
A Dover District Council spokesman said: "We continue to work hard to enforce parking restrictions across the district, including residents’ parking schemes.
"There has been a residents’ parking scheme in operation in the Coombe Valley Road area since around 2004."