Parking problems around the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (QEQM) hospital is not a new issue, but it is getting worse. People cannot afford to park in the increasingly expensive hospital car park, so they are looking for spaces further afield and then walking in. While this is understandable with the current strain on household budgets, it causes huge problems for those that live around the hospital.
Frequently residents cannot park outside their own home and are forced to park several streets away and then walk to their houses. There are also huge problems along some of the roads near the hospital where people park on both sides of the road thereby making it difficult for cars to get down. This is the case on College Road and Addiscombe Road in my ward Dane Valley, where overflow from the hospital car park has turned both of these roads into rat runs which are dangerous for motorists. It also causes problems for people pulling out of side roads because there are cars parked either side of the junction meaning that cars have to peep and creep.
The problem has got so bad that residents on Addiscombe Road are petitioning the Council’s Joint Transportation Board (JTB) about the problem. While I was not involved in this petition, I agree completely with what they are arguing for. There needs to be some sort of order brought to both Addiscombe and College Road before there is a serious accident. Every day there are near misses and sooner or later someone is going to get seriously hurt. I often drive down Addiscombe Road on my way to Ramsgate, and the road is incredibly hazardous with cars ducking in and out of spaces.
The Officer recommendations in the report for the JTB are that a cross-authority working group should be set up between Thanet District Councillors and Kent County Councillors to look into the wider issue of parking and access to the QEQM. I support this fully as we need to look into finding a sustainable future for parking around the hospital. The Dane Valley councillors recently held a meeting with residents where the issue of parking was raised, and since then we have been looking into ways around the problem. I raised the issue at the last Local Board meeting at Upton School and it is something that we really need to look into. After all the hospital is used by everyone from Thanet, but it is the people who live around the hospital that feel the downsides.