HEALTH officials hope to build a new staff car park at Colchester General Hospital to help ease parking problems in nearby streets.

Neighbours have already welcomed plans to create more parking at the hospital for patients.

Now Colchester Hospital University NHS Trust has announced it wants to use land next to Mill Road for a new staff car park with room for more than 60 cars.

For years, residents in nearby streets off Turner Road, including Wryneck Close and Hollymead Close, have complained their roads get clogged with cars belonging to patients and staff.

Trust spokesman Mark Prentice stressed hospital managers appreciated the problems in surrounding roads. After talking to neighbours, the trust had tried to find ways to ease this.

He added: “We have a workforce of more than 280 staff and we also plan to move some services from Essex County Hospital.

“This will involve about another 500 staff. At certain times of the day, parking can get quite difficult for staff.

“We hope this will help that situation, but we are still encouraging as many staff as possible to seek alternative means of getting to work, such as buses, walking, or cycling.

“However, we are a 24-hour operation and realise some people live out in the sticks, and work night shifts, so sometimes a car is the best option.”

Access to the new staff car park would be via special remote control key fobs, which will be given to employees. The car park would not be used 24 hours a day, the trust says.

But Martin Goss, a Mile End borough councillor, who has long campaigned on behalf of families living near the hospital, is far from convinced the plans will help very much. He still thinks yellow lines would be the best way to keep cars out of the surrounding roads.

He explained: “I would think people living in roads opposite would be absolutely delighted, but others living near the new car park, will be less delighted.

“What is going to happen when the 500 staff transfer from Essex County Hospital? These 67 new spaces will be a drop in the ocean. I still believe the main problem is patients who are parking there to avoid paying to park at the hospital, not staff.”