King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council has approved the planning application for a multi-storey car park at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust. The new car park is a critical component of the Trust’s much-needed new hospital, which will be built on the site of the existing main car park, if it gets the government’s go-ahead.
The new multi-storey car park (MSCP) will be constructed in two phases, with the first phase providing 500 parking spaces and the second, to be built alongside the new hospital, providing a further 879 spaces. The new car park will replace the existing car park at the hospital and will be located on the site of the Inspire Centre, which is due for demolition.
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) is in urgent need of a new building, as the current one was built in the 1980s using Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) and was designed to last only 30 years. The hospital’s lifespan has been extended to 2030, with the help of over 3000 roof props. However, since the roof cannot be repaired or replaced, the only feasible and cost-effective option is to construct a new building.
Caroline Shaw CBE, Chief Executive at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust, said, “Building a new QEH is the only long-term solution to solving the significant challenges we face, and we are incredibly grateful to everyone in our local community, and further afield, for their ongoing support. Everyone in the area knows someone who was born, cared for, has given birth or who works at QEH. We know the hospital means a great deal to our local community.”
The MSCP will initially help alleviate parking pressures at the hospital, and in the long run, free up the existing car park for the new hospital building. According to Paul Brooks, Director of Estates and Facilities, the hospital is now concentrating on securing funding for the car park, adding that if funding is forthcoming, construction work on the car park will begin this year. “In the meantime,” adds Brooks, “we continue to push on all fronts for a decision to secure QEH’s place on the Government’s list for funding for a new hospital. We very much hope for a decision soon.”
Following extensive engagement on the MSCP in the Summer of 2022, hundreds of people shared their views on the proposal. In response to feedback, a variety of changes were made to the plans, including changes to the road layout around the car park entrance to alleviate traffic congestion, confirming that the new car park will be pay on exit and payment by app and card will be an option, increasing the size of individual parking spaces to make it easier to park and get in and out of vehicles, locating blue badge spaces on the ground floor and ensuring enough height clearance for disabled spaces to accommodate mobility vehicles, and enhancing the external planting and soft landscaping to further improve the look and feel of the environment around the car park.
Without the multi-storey car park, the QEH cannot build the new hospital by the 2030 deadline. QEH has stated that they are “investment ready” to deliver a new hospital as soon as Government funding is secured.
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