A LONG-AWAITED park-and-ride proposal for Barnsley Hospital’s staff and visitors is set to be relaunched having been recommended by a council committee.
The hospital had identified suitable land at Capitol Park in Dodworth for the scheme, which had been fast-tracked due to ongoing issues with inconsiderate parking on clogged-up side streets around Gawber Road and Summer Lane, before the pandemic struck.
It was hoped the park-and-ride will mirror the success of Doncaster Royal Infirmary’s facility and alleviate hostility between hospital users and residents, but the Chronicle understands an alternative site – on land allocated as MU1 in the council’s local plan blueprint, from Pogmoor to Barugh Green – could be pursued.
A task and finish group – made up of six cross-party councillors – met with senior council officers in transport, planning, housing and environment departments to scrutinise how the local authority manages carbon emissions.
Councillors made several recommendations based on their findings, which will be presented to cabinet at their next meeting on Wednesday.
One of the schemes put forward was for the council to investigate the viability of a park-and-ride scheme for the hospital.
The report said: “Despite being advised that park-and-ride schemes are notoriously difficult to make work, members still feel there would be benefits attached to such a scheme to serve the hospital and would like serious consideration to be given to this recommendation.
“This would alleviate pressures felt by local residents, considerably improve air quality around the hospital and reduce the impact upon emergency vehicles trying to access the hospital.
“Members were disappointed to hear that park-and-ride schemes are notoriously difficult to make work because the offer has to be quicker and cheaper than existing routes used by commuters, because they felt that this could provide a resolution to the long-standing challenges presented by the number of vehicles parked on streets surrounding the hospital.”
The would-be scheme has regularly been backed by Coun Peter Fielding, who represents the Dodworth Ward.
He added: “The hospital site only has capacity for parking for about half of its staff, and there is insufficient capacity to cope with patient and visitor parking demand.
“The result of all this is congestion in the area – local councillors have declared an air pollution emergency as residential streets within half a mile or more of the hospital being filled with parked cars and patients missing appointments.
“I think a park-and-ride scheme would potentially be successful as a result.
“My thoughts were that it’s something that ought to be linked into the forthcoming MU1 development.
“A piece of land could be identified there and we could perhaps provide a priority access route to the hospital, which would be an excellent way of getting people quickly to the hospital by parking at the Capitol Park or the MU1 site.
“If we can provide those residents with a park and ride scheme that not just goes to the hospital but then goes on to the town centre, I think that will be an excellent opportunity.”