JR car park sale alarm highlights absurd situation at great hospital

THE alarm at the John Radcliffe that vital staff parking space could be sold off is a reminder of the preposterous situation around parking there.

For years, staff and patients at our world-class hospital have complained at having to queue for up to an hour just to get a space, with many parking on surrounding residential streets instead.

We have even reported on homeowners in the area making cold, hard cash by renting out their driveways.

The situation clearly causes a lot of stress for employees and families who are already inherently dealing with a lot of stress from the very fact they are driving to a hospital – whether they are going to work or visiting a friend or relative.

One obvious, simple, and popular solution would be a multi-storey car park which could fit hundreds of cars.

Unfortunately for fans of that idea, our city council won’t allow it: the authority says it doesn’t want any multi-storey car park which would encourage people to drive to the site because it says it is trying to encourage people to use public transport in the city such as buses, largely to cut air pollution, for laudable environmental and health reasons.

However, as we have said before, this is a policy which is already failing: we already have to queue for stressful amounts of time to get into the JR, yet hundreds of people still do it every day: the reality is, public transport just isn’t a realistic option for a lot of people. During the coronavirus pandemic, this has become more true than ever, as we were advised that using buses could actually be dangerous.

Secondly, private vehicles don’t have to be bad for the environment: in 15 years’ time, the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles in this country will be outlawed, eventually leaving only electrics or hybrids.

Will we be allowed to have a decent-sized car park when petrol and diesel vehicles are finally banned?

If so, how long exactly will we have to put up with the frustration illustrated by today’s front page in the meantime?

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