NEW PARKING charges will be introduced at Horsham Hospital from Wednesday (April 12).
Until now the hospital has offered free parking for those needing to visit the Hurst Road facility but from Wednesday visitors could have to pay up to 2 to park their car.
The pay and display charges will apply Monday to Friday, excluding Bank Holidays, from 8am to 6pm. Tickets will cost 60p for up to an hour, 1 for up to two hours and 2 up to four hours.
It will be enforced by parking wardens and those who fail to buy a parking ticket or stay longer than their allotted time could face a penalty of 60.
Horsham and Chanctonbury Primary Care Trust (PCT) said the charges were being introduced to ensure cars and vehicles using the site either to park, drop off or collect, were managed 'safely and efficiently'.
It is hoped the new charges will help reduce instances of commuters and local workers, displaced by the introduction of the controlled parking zone in 2003, using the hospital car park.
The PCT said that over the past year it had gathered the views of patient and carer representatives as well as patients and visitors using the site, and had held discussions with staff.
It added that these views had been taken into consideration when planning the new parking arrangements which include 95 pay and display parking spaces, a clearly defined time-limited drop-off and collection area and more disabled parking.
Senior ward staff will issue special permits for relatives visiting patients who are very ill, and therefore may run over the four hour parking limit.
Angela Ugur, chief executive of the PCT, said: "A great deal of planning has gone into the project to ensure that the patient and visitor needs are met and that parking is managed in such a way that people should be able to find a parking space on the site without difficulty at most times during the day."
Three designated spaces for volunteer hospital car drivers will be provided along with designated staff parking areas.
Tickets can be purchased from four pay and display machines on the site. Machines do not give change.