ESSEX County Council could help provide a shuttle bus between the park and ride and Colchester General Hospital.

Rodney Bass, county councillor responsible for transport, suggested the service as an alternative to a hospital stop.

He was responding to a request for a stop by borough councillor Martin Goss.

Mr Bass said: “It is not sensible to introduce stops to serve the hospital.

“We are, however, happy to review the hospital’s travel plan and to see how we might help in providing a shuttle service – particularly if some funding from the hospital, or indeed the council, were forthcoming.”

Paul Smith, leader of Colchester Council, said he was aware a shuttle bus has been suggested and thought it would be a good solution.

He said: “The council would need a detailed travel plan from the hospital before it can agree on a shuttle service. We would support the shuttle, if it proves to be better than a stop.”

A spokesman for Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust said its travel plan was under review, but could not confirmwhether a shuttle bus was on the agenda.

He said: “We will be working with Colchester Council and Essex County Council to identify opportunities for improving access to the site over the coming months.”

Colchester Council’s Conservative group suggested a shuttle during a full council meeting last month, but were outvoted.

It called for Colchester Council to request the county council to carry out a feasibility study of using a section of the park and ride car park as off-site parking for the hospital, with a jointlyfinanced shuttle bus.

Mr Goss, who represents Mile End on Colchester Council, has been lobbying for a stop at the hospital, instead of a shuttle bus.

He has said people have been “coming out in droves” in support of a hospital stop, and said a hospital shuttle would be a waste of money.

He said: “Hospital money should be spent on care, not mini - buses. It is blindness and sheer arrogance.

“I think a shuttle is ludicrous, as it will cost more money and there will be more drivers. The whole thing just doesn’t stack up.”

The 1,000-space park and ride, off junction 28 of the A12, opened in April, but does not include a stop at the hospital, despite buses going past the site.