MORE cars could be parked on surrounding streets after Musgrove Park Hospital rescinded a host of parking passes.

Some workers who previously parked their cars at the hospital, received letters informing them they would not be able to do so for much longer.

The hospital says it is due to the increased use of the car park now the summer months are over.

The letter said: "You may remember at the start of 2019 we gathered colleagues' views in order to develop fair criteria for the allocation of staff permits.

"Car parking at the hospital is under pressure and we have at times in the past seen cars queuing to access the site.

"On the basis of colleagues' feedback we agreed the criteria against which we assessed each application for a permit. One this basis you did not qualify for a permit but we nevertheless gave you one and have monitored numbers through the year.

"Now as we move towards the start of autumn when Musgrove Park Hospital becomes very busy, and as the number of staff parking permits has grown, I am writing to let you know that we will withdraw your parking permit from Monday, October 7.

"Your barrier card will stop working after midnight on Sunday, October 6. Please return it to the Q-Park office."

One worker, who requested to remain anonymous, received the letter telling her she would be unable to park.

She said: "I live in Wellington and work long days but have just had this letter, no other communication from the Trust.

"It sounds like a lot of my colleagues from Wellington have had this too.

"This means there will be more parking around the streets."

Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust has not been able to confirm how many passes have been taken away, as it says some will go through an appeals process.

Phil Shelley, facilities manager at Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Unfortunately, like many hospitals, Musgrove Park Hospital does not have the space to provide parking on site for all our colleagues, patients and visitors. It is therefore very important that we allocate parking permits for our colleagues as fairly as possible, taking into account their travel distance from home and their shift patterns.

“This year we worked hard to put a fair system in place but, over the summer months when our car park was less busy, we were able to provide temporary parking permits to colleagues who live closer to the hospital and do not work out of hours shifts while they made alternative arrangements.

“From October there is a much greater demand on our car parks, and therefore we have now written to those colleagues to let them know that they cannot retain their temporary permits and to use alternatives. We are reminding them of the subsidy that we provide to support them to use the park and ride scheme and encouraging them to use travel alternatives and not to bring a car onto the hospital site.

“We know that some staff do park in the nearby area and we ask them do so with respect for our neighbours and to drive and park considerately and safely.”

In August your County Gazette ran a story regarding a plea from four local Liberal Democrat councillors for parking around the hospital to be 'resident friendly' - not designed for the 'convenience of commenters'.

Somerset West and Taunton councillors Cllrs Alan Wedderkopp, Martin Peters, Simon Nicholls and Habib Farbahi urged Somerset County Council to look into the matter, as some residents claimed it was making life difficult for them.

They have not welcomed the news more cars could be forced to park in the surrounding streets.

Cllr Habib Farbahi said: "Local councillors in Comeytrowe and Bishop’s Hull, Manor, Wilton and Sherford have been working hard for a long time to find solutions to the problem of commuter parking in our residential streets, including consulting residents and persuading the County Council to adopt a more 'resident-friendly' parking policy.

"We are appalled to find that Musgrove Hospital have unilaterally decided to make the problem even worse by forcing more hospital staff out of the hospital car park and onto our residential roads.”

Cllr Simon Nicholls said: "I am not particularly shocked because as far as I can see, despite the fantastic job Musgrove staff do for the community, management and Qpark gives scant regard to the impact on local residents roads.

"The withdrawal of permits could lead to the problem being exacerbated."