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Tunbridge Wells Hospital could get 140 extra parking spaces under Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Hospital NHS Trust

By Luke May

A hospital under-fire for not having enough parking could have more than 100 spaces added to it.

Tunbridge Wells Hospital employs thousands of staff and has enough beds to care for more than 500 patients at any given time.

Lauraine Griffiths branded parking at the hospital "shameful" in December, as she shared the heartbreaking story of how she missed her mother's final moments, only because she could not park her car.

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Hospital NHS Trust announced it was planning to expand its current parking offering at Tunbridge Wells Hospital.

The 512-bed hospital currently has 447 visitor spaces and 818 spaces for its 2000 staff.

Eight years after it opened in January 2011, the trust plans to instal another 140 spaces exclusively for patients.

Parking at Tunbridge Wells Hospital has been called "shameful" by patients. Picture: Matthew Walker
Parking at Tunbridge Wells Hospital has been called "shameful" by patients. Picture: Matthew Walker

If successful, the hospital in Pembury would have 1,405 parking spaces.

Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark said: "It has long been apparent that there is not enough capacity for the number of staff, patients and visitors who need to park at the site and therefore I support any measures taken to provide more spaces.

A spokesman from the hospital's trust said: "We are currently working to submit a planning application to increase the Tunbridge Wells Hospital car park by 140 spaces, subject to planning approval.

"We have commissioned contractors to undertake necessary topology surveys along with ecology surveys of the woodland and adjacent areas. These have now taken place and we await the results.

"The results of both surveys will form part of the final documentation that is required in order to submit a planning application."

Pembury ward councillor Paul Barrington-King said: "This is long overdue. Once this parking is in place it should stop hospital patients and visitors having to use Pembury High Street to park.

"We may need parking spaces in the future. When the hospital's initial planning application went in there was a feeling they had under sold the amount of parking spaces they needed.

"Now with more development in Tunbridge Wells and surrounding boroughs, as well as an aging population, it's likely we'll need more spaces in the future. But for now the extra 140 spaces is a welcome sight."

MTW made more than £2million from staff and patient parking charges last year.

An application is expected to go in before this summer.

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