Car parking charges to be introduced at Downe

Car parking charges to be introduced at Downe

4 September 2019

CAR parking charges are to be introduced at the Downe Hospital.

The news was confirmed at Monday night’s meeting of the Down Community Health Committee.

Staff, patients and visitors are scheduled to pay to park their vehicles at the Struell Road hospital from next year.

South Eastern Trust acting chief executive Seamus McGoran said hospital parking charges are part of Department of Health regional policy.

He said health trusts have been told that money they are provided with for health and social services must not be used to maintain car parks, explaining departmental policy on the issue was very clear.

He said charges were introduced at the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald 15 years ago as commuters were leaving their vehicles in the car park and getting a bus into Belfast.

While he admitted that this would not be a problem in Downpatrick, the views of local people during a consultation on the issue were listened to.

”We brought proposals to our Trust Board and agreed that charging at the Downe would be at the back end of our priorities on the management of this site,” continued Mr McGoran.

“We agreed that when we introduced charges we would take cognisance of payment rates which we would expect to be less than those at the Ulster Hospital.

“This decision was taken several years ago and I am not expecting us to introduce charges in the current financial year.”

Mr McGoran also confirmed that no provision has been made for charges at the Downe this year, but revealed that local people can expect to see new barriers going up as part of the preparatory work ahead of the new charging regime.

He added: “Certainly next year we will have to introduce charges. Lots of points made by the community during the consultation were listened to and we took account of them when we came to our final decision.

“All the income generated will be used to maintain and manage the car park, including the provision of CCTV and new lighting.”