Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham hospitals' overnight hike in parking charge angers users

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Media captionBirmingham hospitals' car park price hike provokes anger from patients and visitors

A hospital trust's long-stay car parking charge has almost doubled overnight - costing visitors £10 instead of £5.75.

Visitors parking at three West Midlands hospitals run by Heart of England Foundation Trust say the hike came without warning.

The new £10 tariff is for stays of more than six hours and up to 24 hours.

The trust said users would benefit from a reduction in charges for stays of up to two hours.

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Image caption Prior to the price increase a stay of up to 24 hours cost £5.75

"The highest percentage of visitors" parked at the hospitals for up to two hours, the trust said.

That figure, it added, amounted to 57.7%.

In 2016, the trust topped the national league for charges, collecting £4,841,108 across the year.

'Extortionate'

Car park users have criticised the move, with one saying her first reaction was "God, have I got to get a mortgage"?

Others called the increase "disgraceful" and "extortionate".

The changes came into effect on Tuesday.

Under the new fees, a 30-minute stay is free, with stays of up to two hours costing £3, up to four hours costing £5, up to six hours costing £7, and up to 24 hours costing £10.

The day before, there was again no charge for the first 30 minutes and a £2.75 charge for a stay of up to an hour. Other fees worked out as £3.75 for up to two hours, £4.75 for a stay of up to four hours, and £5.75 for a stay of up to 24 hours.

A spokesperson said the changes were the trust's first since 2013 and it did not profit from car parking charges, with income redeployed to "fund capital projects, utility costs, security and a car parking management service".

He added discounts were available to those visiting the hospitals for more than one day, with free car park use to those in receipt of income-related benefits.

The hospitals affected are Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull.

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