Council to explore hospital shuttle bus idea to help mitigate parking problems

West Suffolk Hospital
West Suffolk Hospital

Council bosses are exploring the possibility of introducing a shuttle bus to West Suffolk Hospital to help combat ongoing parking problems.

Suffolk County Council is considering whether they could mirror a scheme in Nottingham which is a free bus service run by a community transport group around the city to a medical centre and hospital.

They have invited operators of the initiative, known as Medilink, to give a presentation during the launch of the Suffolk Transport Forum, in Ipswich on January 16 to see if the idea could apply to hospitals around Suffolk.

County Cllr Sarah Stamp said it could be one way to help mitigate parking pressures around the site and on neighbouring residential areas.

She said: “It’s part of the solution but there’s no one simple solution. We’re looking at a host of different things around hospital parking - putting down different restrictions and it’s about changing the behaviour of people aswell.”

The council plans to install ‘keep clear’ markings at the turning heads in Hardwick Park Gardens and Home Farm Lane. It had initially considered double yellow lines but these would require a traffic regulation order which is a legal and lengthy process.

In a letter to residents, Stephen Boor, West Area Highways Manager, said: “We will continue to monitor the turning heads and if the parking problem returns, further consideration will be given to get a traffic regulation order for the double yellow lines.” The council will also consult with residents about restrictions in other areas.

On the bus plan, a hospital spokesman said: “We will support any proposal which would reduce pressure on parking at the hospital and on neighbouring streets, and look forward to hearing the outcome of the council’s discussions.”