Patients and visitors to Harrogate hospital this week were met by chaotic scenes and gridlocked traffic as temporary parking restrictions were put in place during building work on a new cancer centre.
The first phase of the work to build the Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Cancer Centre will see a new level added to the hospital’s front car park, replacing spaces due to be lost when the centre is complete.
It has resulted in the closure of a significant amount of the front car park, with parking redirected to other locations during the work.
Helen Nash, of Arthurs Grove, visiting the hospital on Tuesday, said: “It was chaos really, they’ve obviously still got the same number of people needing to park, and just a fraction of the spaces left.
“There were a lot of queues. When we came back out again, we had to turn out of the car park the wrong way just to avoid them.”
She said several parking attendants were on hand to assist people, but if they were occupied with someone else it was left to visitors to fend for themselves.
Jonathan Coulter, deputy chief executive at the hospital, said: “Some initial temporary disruption during this work is inevitable as the new arrangements come into force.
“We continue to work hard to minimise this as far as possible, and have provided more car park attendants and more signage to manage the car park flow.
“We are grateful for the understanding of our patients, visitors and staff during the work on the cancer unit, which will be of huge benefit to local people with cancer and their families.”
A patient, who asked not to be named and visited the hospital first thing on Monday morning, said: “It was terrible, two-thirds of the parking was fenced off and I couldn’t see anything else available or anywhere to park.”
A spokesman for the hospital said a car park attendant had been out early to direct patients and visitors, but admitted signs had only gone up at around 10am and anyone turning up beforehand might have struggled to find the relocated parking spaces.
On Twitter, Jo McGregor (@Jo_Mc) said: “I went to Harrogate Hospital at 11am and Lancaster Park Road was gridlocked. Half the car park was empty but there was no signage. I parked on the road in the end. I was just dropping samples off, it would have been awful if I was going for an appointment.”
A press release issued by the hospital trust said temporary changes to parking would be in force until June 2012.
It said limited car parking would be available in the hospital’s front car park on Lancaster Park Road as well as additional spaces in the car park off Willaston Cresent and at the Heatherdene site on Lancaster Park Road, with disabled parking unaffected by the building work.