NHS Lothian to spend £675k on a temporary car park at Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary

Overstretched health workers have breathed a sigh of relief after NHS Lothian announced plans for 450 extra parking spaces at Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary have been approved.

By Shona Elliott
Monday, 20th September 2021, 4:55 am

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Health chiefs have confirmed two separate car parking proposals that have been created to help control the serious problems with traffic congestion at the Capital’s biggest hospital.

Unions leaders and local politicians, who have previously criticised the health board over parking issues at Little France, welcomed the development.

MSP Miles Briggs raised concerns that temporary car parking will not be enough to deal with the long term issues at Little France.

But fears that the problems will return after the Edinburgh’s new eye hospital opens at Little France in 2026 have been raised by Conservative MSP Miles Briggs.

The Lothian MSP voiced fears that temporary car parking will not be enough to deal with the long term issues at Little France.

He said: “I don’t think temporary car parks will necessarily be enough, we need the health board to do a real future proofing of the services, especially as the Eye Pavilion will be built there soon.

“It’s clear more and more people will be going there for treatment and we need to make sure options of taking a car are available to people who need it.”

Fears that parking issues will return after Edinburgh’s new eye hospital opens at Little France in 2026 have been raised by a local politician.

Outlining plans to the Evening News, director of finance at NHS Lothian Susan Goldsmith said: ”Car parking at our Little France Site has become increasingly congested following the remobilisation of services at NHS Lothian.

“We have created two separate car parking proposals in response to this.

“The first is a temporary car park in plot one of the Bio-quarter, which is located at our south junction on the right-hand side of Little France Drive. This project will see just over 200 spaces created. It is currently owned by the University of Edinburgh, but we have agreed a lease initially for three years with the option for future extension.

“The second is for the creation of around 250 permanent spaces which is at the early stage of planning and governance.

New temporary car park has been estimated to cost £674,797.

“We’re currently in the process of appointing a contractor to progress plans for the temporary car park following a competitive tendering process. Once formally appointed, we will work with them to agree the construction programme.”

The temporary car park has been estimated to cost £674,797, more information on construction is expected after a contractor have been confirmed.

Parking is only part of the solution, says stakeholders

Health bosses said increasing parking spaces is only part of the solution to the persisting traffic issues at the hospital.

NHS Lothian hopes to encourage as many employees as possible to make use of public transport links to the site. It also plans to bring in shuttle buses and a car-sharing scheme in a further bid to combat traffic congestion at Little France.

Union branch secretary and member of the Infirmary’s car parking group Tracy Miller, who has previously criticised NHS Lothian’s attempts to improve parking at the site, welcomed the news today.

She said: “I am absolutely delighted because anything that takes pressure off the site is welcome. I’m not sure yet how much of an impact it will have, we will not know that until we move back to the permit and cashier systems.”

All permits and cashier rules at the hospital car park were scrapped during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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