ESSEX’S highways chief has ruled out creating a park and ride stop near to Colchester General Hospital despite mounting pressure.

Rodney Bass has consistently said the park and ride is “not in the business of providing parking for NHS employees”.

He has unequivocally ruled out the plea to install stops at the back of the Turner Road hospital to cater for its 3,500 employees and tens of thousands of patients.

In correspondence with Martin Goss, borough councillor for Mile End, Mr Bass said: “I have discussed the issue a number of times with the hospital and we will await and try to facilitate any constructive suggestions they make.

"The stops will not be added to the park and ride journey.”

The council has previously hinted at the possibility of shuttle buses, but has not been specific on any details.

The pleas for a hospital park and ride stop come after Mr Bass added a stop in Middleborough, citing the area as one of high employment.

Mr Goss, who has offered to help pay for the stops to be installed himself, has criticised Mr Bass, saying installing the stops is a “no-brainer” and “the people of Colchester know it”.

He said: “It probably comes as no surprise to the people of Colchester that Rodney Bass does not want to listen to the wants and needs of our town.

“I have been overwhelmed by the support I have received from people for what I’m trying to do and I’ve even had people offer money towards it because they know it is for the good of the hospital and for the good of the town.”

Mr Bass previously said the county council will not pay solely for the stops and would seek a contribution from the hospital.

The hospital said its money is better spent on providing care for patients. Mr Goss said: “NHS money should be spent on NHS healthcare, not on buses. Most people will agree with that.”

Colchester MP Will Quince said there is a compelling argument to put stops at Colchester General Hospital, but called for evidence.

He said: “There are massive benefits to both the hospital and to Essex County Council.

“I can see the hospital’s argument, but what I have said to them is: ‘At the moment, there are cars queueing outside the hospital clogging up Turner Road and people are missing appointments.

How much is that costing the NHS?’ “I would say to both: ‘We can talk about funding, but let’s agree in principle that it is a good idea and go from there’.”

Gazette: Colchester General Hospital

A Colchester General Hospital spokesman said its view has consistently been an additional stop near Colchester General Hospital would help patients, visitors and staff.

He said: “We would welcome an opportunity to discuss this with Essex County Council.”