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U-turn over controversial new car parking system at hospital

PUBLISHED: 16:25 21 May 2019 | UPDATED: 08:21 22 May 2019

A queue for the car park meter at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: Jennifer Goodman

A queue for the car park meter at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: Jennifer Goodman

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A private firm has made a U-turn over the way it charges people parking at the county's busiest hospital.

Changes were made last week at the car park operated by Bullen Developments, a subsidiary of construction firm R G Carter, which is adjacent to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH).

It meant those using the 310-space car park, which opened in 2013, would have to pay for their car parking up front, with the ability to top up their payment if their appointment takes longer than expected.

MORE: 'I spent longer queuing to pay than my appointment took' - mother hits out at hospital parking charges

And while the cost of parking did not change the system sparked outrage with patients and visitors, who said it was "just another way to make life difficult for the sick".

But on Tuesday a spokesman for Bullen Developments said the car park would revert to taking payment as people left.

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He said: "Over the last few days we have listened to feedback from customers and it is clear we need to make adjustments to the speed and structure of payment process. To deal with the issues raised we have today made changes to the system to allow people to pay on exit as well as entry and have made more staff available to help customers who are using the new system for the first time.

MORE: 'Just another way to make life difficult for the sick': Reaction to hospital parking charge changes

"Over the next few days we will be improving signage and putting in place an additional ticket machine. We will continue to monitor our service and make further adjustments as necessary."

One patient, who wished to remain anonymous, said his mother was currently dying at the hospital.

He said: "My dad is at the end of his tether, this car park has caused a lot of misery. It's just a stress you don't need at this moment in time."

The Bullen spokesman added: "We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience and hope that by implementing these changes we will achieve our original goal of making the parking process simple, efficient and more flexible for anyone using the car park."

Robert Carter, of R G Carter, was named as the richest man in Norfolk earlier this month in the Sunday Times Rich List.

His and his family's construction business, which owns Bullen Developments, has helped them to amass a fortune of £175m, placing them 27th in East Anglia.

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