The first phase of a new 300-space car park at Bath’s Royal United Hospital has opened.
A total of 185 new spaces are now available while work continues on the rest of the car park construction.
Work includes the straightening of the road leading from the main entrance roundabout, which will be closed from today for about three and a half weeks.
Drivers are being advised to use the Penn Hill Road entrance to reach the new car park. Diversion and information signs will be in place.
Howard Jones, director of estates and facilities, said: “We apologise for any inconvenience, but hope visitors will appreciate that we are providing 185 new spaces as soon as we can, rather than waiting to open the entire car park once it’s all finished.”
A new parking payment system also started today, using automated number plate recognition (ANPR).
It works by cameras capturing a vehicle’s number plate when entering and leaving a car park.
Drivers can pay by coin, card, phone or online after having left the hospital, as long as they do so before midnight on the day they visited.
Blue Badge holders will continue to park for free but they will need to log their vehicle registration number(s) and Blue Badge details on to the database so the system will recognise that they qualify for free parking.
There are two ways to register vehicle(s) and Blue Badge details. Visitors can register at the main hospital reception desk with a copy of your Blue Badge and vehicle registration, or they can call ahead on 01225 824100 and present a Blue Badge later for validation.
Each Blue Badge holder can register up to three vehicles and once confirmed, will still need to display the badge in the vehicles while parked.
If you do not register your vehicle and badge you will have to pay the standard parking tariff, or be liable to an £80 parking charge notice.
The new ANPR system is aimed at improving the available parking for all patients and visitors and enhancing their experience of coming to the hospital.
Parking charges will not be increased and there is a new seven-day ticket replacing the five-day ticket for no extra cost.
Mr Jones said: “We’re really pleased to be able to open so many spaces in the new car park which, when finished, will make a big difference to our patients and visitors.
“I’d like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding during the construction work.”
Community transport drivers and volunteer drivers should email lists of vehicle registration numbers to firstname.lastname@example.org to be included on the database so that their vehicles can park for free in public car parks and avoid charges should they overstay in areas like the 20-min drop off.