The farce of having roads clogged with parked cars outside Oswestry’s health centre, when a large car park nearby stands largely empty, has been condemned by a leading councillor.
Cllr Paul Milner, who now sits on Shropshire Council as well as the local Oswestry authority, has been involved in discussions for several months to try to ease the parking conundrum.
But he says the efforts are proving fruitless.
The car park was built – and paid for – by a local businessman who had been in negotiations with The Nexus Group, which manages many health properties, said Cllr Milner.
The understanding was many of the parking spaces would be taken by staff at the health centre and the Minor Injuries Unit (MIU), and a low daily fee for each space was negotiated.
But, said Cllr Milner, once the car park was built, The Nexus Group did not take up the spaces. And he said he had been frustrated at attempts to get everyone around a table to negotiate a satisfactory outcome.
“I feel sorry for the businessman who paid for the car park and now sees so many empty spaces there,” said Cllr Milner.
“Someone from The Nexus Group came to see us in Oswestry in January, and we thought we could resolve things.
“We had a further email from the official in March when they said they would be in touch when they hoped to have more news, but since then we’ve heard nothing, despite our attempts.
“The car park could play a big part in easing parking problems outside the health centre.
“The initial plan was for more than 20 spaces to be allocated to health staff, which would free up their parking spaces for people who had appointments at the health centre, or who wanted to visit the Minor Injuries Unit.
“Parking nearby is dreadful – cars are left half on pavements and it’s very, very busy. I think it is dangerous. People using mobility scooters cannot get to the dropped kerbs because cars are parked in the way.
“I know many people who have driven to the health centre for an appointment but can’t find anywhere to park, and have to go into town to find a space. Some of them have been quite elderly, and by the time they have walked back to the health centre, they have missed their appointment. It can’t carry on like this.
“We need The Nexus Group to talk to us and to take up the spaces in the car park, which would then free up parking for health centre patients.
“We then need to install some kind of Parking Eye system, so the only people parking close to the health centre are those with appointments.
“If we don’t do that, then more people who work in the town centre will leave their cars there all day to get out of having to pay to use one of the town-centre car parks, or people will park there to take their dogs for a walk.
“Patients have to be able to park close by. And people who need the MIU should be able to park there, too – we could have someone who is bleeding quite heavily from an injury having to park in town and make their way back to the unit because there is nowhere closer for them to leave a car. That shouldn’t happen.
“Double yellow lines should be painted close to the health centre by early next year to prevent some of the inconsiderate parking, and that – with staff using the nearby car park, and a Parking Eye system in place – would solve these problems once and for all.”
The Nexus Group said dialogue about the car park ‘was continuing’ and that a spokesman would be in touch with the Advertizer. At the time of going to press, no-one had contacted us.
See full story in the Advertizer