I WISH to make a formal objection to the proposed extension of the Hillingdon Hospital Parking scheme.
Cllrs Jenkins and Burrows, the Hillingdon Borough Council, residents living in the neighbourhood of the hospital and other proponents of this scheme appear to have overlooked one very important point. The hospital exists to serve the needs of the residents of Hillingdon. The healthcare services it provides for the people of this borough appears largely to be disregarded within this scheme.
I read with astonishment the January cabinet office decision sheet stating: "There was a high level of satisfaction" with the existing parking scheme. Who was canvassed? There has been unmitigated chaos around the hospital since its inception and great inconvenience caused for many.
Imposition of the existing exclusion zone overlooked many issues and so further problems were created. People do not come to the hospital for a day's outing: they are patients, visitors and staff.
While there is a reasonable bus connection to the hospital from various parts of the borough, there will always be a requirement for people to use cars as their mode of transport.
Infirmity, job requirements, unsocial hours or distance are all valid reasons for electing to use the car as opposed to public transport.
To ease the situation caused by patients and visitors being unable to use street parking within reasonable reach, the designated staff car parks were opened for everyone's use. Hillingdon Staff Car Parking Unit, which carefully controlled the allocation of staff car parking permits, is now reduced to selling tickets to staff, who are then unable to use them when they arrive for work.
The hospital applied to build a multi-storey car park. This was rejected by the previous London mayoral administration, which determined that everyone must use public transport.
The result of remorselessly pursuing this objective is daily seen in the atrocious traffic jams (and pollution) in Pield Heath Road - caused by long lines of cars waiting to enter one of the already full parking areas.
A close examination of the streets in the surrounding square mile show the vast majority of residences have designated parking areas, or driveways and garages.
Many householders themselves are absent throughout the 9am to 5pm period, with their cars being driven elsewhere.
Like all drivers, I would prefer there to be fewer parked cars in my own area and I am restricted under the Wembley Parking scheme.
However cars are a fact of life. Hillingdon already has ways of tackling illegal parking. Consequently, residents' concerns about aesthetics or badly parked cars should not be regarded as paramount.
Hillingdon residents would be the first to complain if their operations were cancelled because staff couldn't manage to get to the hospital or ambulances were stuck outside in queuing traffic.
I think it is a duty of this committee to take a wider view of the situation. The existing situation is not sustainable and new proposals are under consideration which will worsen it yet further.
Hillingdon Council must surely work with the hospital car parking management and arrive at a sensible compromise proposal that is acceptable to the residents and hospital users alike.
C J QUEEN