Paving the way – our brand new multi-storey car park
Over 280 people attended meetings and exhibitions about the proposals and more than 390 people responded to a questionnaire.
Overall, the feedback showed there is strong support for a multi-storey car park and gave us additional insights into patient and visitor experience of parking at the hospital as well as views from local residents. Common themes in response to the proposals included:
providing more parking spaces, and having sufficient spaces to meet future demand
ensuring there is sufficient and dedicated parking for staff
concerns around traffic congestion on site and on the roads around QEH
keeping parking costs to a minimum and offering a range of ways to pay for parking
ensuring the new car park is easy to use, safe and accessible to all
In response to the feedback, we have made a number of changes to the plans. Among others, these included:
changes to the road layout around the car park entrance to ease traffic congestion
confirming that the new car park will be pay on exit and payment by app will be an option
using automatic number plate recognition technology to allow for barrier-less exits, making it faster to enter and exit the car park
using colour coding and improving signage to help people find their way around the car park and find spaces
locating blue badge spaces on the ground floor and ensuring enough height clearance for these spaces to accommodate mobility vehicles
enhancing the external planting and soft landscaping to further improve the look and feel of the environment around the car park
During the engagement period, we heard, once again, the depth of support for our plans for a new hospital as the current estate reaches the end of its life.
We have developed these FAQs following the conversations we have been holding around our proposal for a new car park:
What is the proposal for a new multi-storey car park?
Alongside our plans to bring a new QEH to King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, we have developed proposals for a multi-storey car park (MSCP) development on our current hospital site. With the increasing demand for more patient, visitor and staff parking, multi-storey car parks are commonplace around the country. They are an integral feature of the majority of plans for new hospitals. QEH is no different.
Our plans for a new multi-storey car park will help address our short-term need for spaces, providing a better experience for patients, visitors and staff. Our proposal is the most effective way of using the space we have and it is a critical enabling scheme which allows us to keep the current hospital open until the new QEH opens its doors in 2030 (subject to necessary approvals).
The MSCP will be built on the site of old Inspire Centre which was demolished in 2023.
Why does QEH need a new car park?
Like many other hospitals up and down the country, providing enough car parking spaces for our patients, visitors and staff is a challenge at QEH. A recent travel survey has shown that the number of people traveling to QEH by car continues to increase, and this has been more noticeable since COVID-19 visiting restrictions were lifted.
Our preferred new hospital scheme would see the new hospital built on our existing car park. We have been thinking about how we provide enough parking for patients, visitors and staff both while the proposed new hospital is being built and once it is up and running.
Our proposal is in line with most new hospital schemes across the country which include plans for car parking facilities using multi-storey car parks, recognising that for patients, visitors and staff, good access to parking has a significant impact on their overall experience. QEH is no different.
What will the impact be on patients, visitors and staff if we don’t have a new car park?
For patients, visitors and staff, good access to parking has a big impact on their experience of visiting or working at the hospital. We need more spaces in the short-term to take account of immediate parking needs, especially as more people are visiting the hospital now that COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted. We think our plans will help provide a better overall experience for patients, visitors and staff.
Our proposal is the most effective way of using the space we have to provide parking facilities for our patients, visitors and staff. Importantly, it is a critical part of our plans for a new hospital as it will help keep the current hospital open until the new QEH opens its doors in 2030 (subject to necessary approvals).
How will it help the building of a new hospital?
We have until 2025 to carry out ‘enabling’ works that will facilitate the hospital build – this includes ensuring we replace the existing car park that the new hospital would be built on. After careful consideration we think that the best solution to car parking at the QEH, both in the short and long-term, is to build a multi-storey car park.
This will ease parking challenges in the short-term by creating more spaces and will free up the current car park space as a construction site for a new hospital. It will help alleviate any parking disruption when a new hospital is built and provide enough spaces to meet future demand.
How much will it cost?
Phase one of the MSCP will cost circa. £15m.
What will the car park look like?
You can find more information including some visuals of the proposed new car park on this website.
What are the key features of the proposed multi-storey car park?
The proposed MSCP would be built using ‘Modern Methods of Construction’ principles that guide all NHS new builds. Our developing plans include plenty of space to access vehicles for patients with reduced mobility, energy efficient LED lighting and motion sensors (helping to reduce light pollution), a wheelchair area, natural ventilation and 24-hour security. As part of this project, we will be adding additional spaces for staff and visitors to charge their electric vehicles across our hospital site, with flexibility to increase this provision in the future as we work to better understand and model demand.
How do you know the car park you’re proposing is sized correctly?
The MSCP has been developed based on anticipated use and experience from other multi-storey car parks across the country. A series of traffic surveys were undertaken last year to help provide a robust evidence base to support the sizing calculations and we’ve also looked at data from different clinical departments and visitor numbers to inform our proposals. The car park proposals also follow NHS best practice guidance.
Have you thought about how to make the proposals as ‘green’ as possible?
We will promote the use of carbon efficient principles through the construction and delivery process, in line with the Government’s Net Zero Strategy, which sets out to reduce emissions and reduce the carbon footprint of all sectors of the economy.
We are working to keep car parking demand to a minimum wherever practical and possible to do so, for example through our travel plan, staff car parking permit system, and public transport.
As part of this project, we will be adding additional spaces for staff and visitors to charge their electric vehicles across our hospital site, with flexibility to increase this provision in the future as we work to better understand and model demand.
How many spaces will there be for patients/visitors/staff?
The multi-storey car park would provide 1,310 car parking spaces.
Will there be electric charging points for vehicles?
During the consideration of our planning application, advice sought from local authority fire department requested that electric charging points were not located inside the MSCP as they could pose an additional fire risk that could otherwise be avoided. Instead as part of this project, we will be adding additional spaces for staff and visitors to charge their electric vehicles across our hospital site, rather than in a building, with flexibility to increase this provision in the future as we work to better understand and model demand. In so doing, we recognise that our hospital parking spaces should not become a destination for charging electric vehicles.
How much will it cost to use the new car park?
We don’t anticipate any specific changes to car parking charges related to the MSCP. We will continue to review our charges each year as we do now and ensure these are benchmarked with other hospitals.
Will patient transport pick up and drop off points be affected?
The patient pick up and drop off points outside the main hospital entrance are not affected by the MSCP plans. These will also be considered at a later stage as more detailed plans are developed for a new hospital.
How will you make it easy for people to navigate their way round the proposed MSCP?
Graphics will identify lifts, stairs and car park level location, which has benefits for those with dementia or are partially-sighted, and symbols will identify parking bays and electric vehicle charging points.
Internal signage will help patients, visitors, and staff identify where links to the new hospital are located.
We are proposing the strong use of colour to support wayfinding at different levels with colour themes for each floor and having painted walkways and architectural features on each floor to help with orientation and user experience and maximise accessibility.
Will it be possible to pay online for parking using apps or mobile payment methods?
Usability is a key consideration for us as we develop the proposals for the new MSCP. We are proposing to digitise the way we manage the car park with use of modern payment methods and mobile and app devices.
This will include Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) systems, to align with modern practices and the Government’s ‘Digital first’ agenda. ANPR systems have the benefit of being an automated payment system which mean visitors will be able to pay as they leave, rather than having to estimate how long they will need to park for.
Where will the helipad go?
Plans to temporarily relocate our helipad are progressing well, with work starting on the new site in early 2024.
The helipad is currently situated on the top end of the hospital site and is a well-used resource. Under new plans it will be temporarily relocated to farmland to the east of the hospital on the opposite side of the road along the B1145 and should be operational in summer 2024. Patients who are airlifted to the temporary helipad will be conveyed by a waiting ambulance to the emergency department.
Once the new hospital is built the helipad will be relocated back to the QEH site onto the roof of the new building.
What will be the impact of the proposed multi-storey car park on local residents?
We are aiming to minimise the impact of the development, so we are sensitive and respectful of our closest neighbours. We will use a developer registered with the Considerate Constructors Scheme to minimise disturbance for our neighbours and the public.
What is the impact of the proposals on our local highways?
We are working with Norfolk County Council around minimising the impact of construction traffic and the short-term displacement of some car parking at QEH during construction.
We are committed to a temporary solution to manage any displaced parking and ensure that any impact on the wider highway network is minimised.
When will building start?
Whilst we waiting funding confirmation from the national New Hospital Programme our teams are working hard behind the scenes to ensure work on our new MSCP can start as soon as possible once funding is received.
Currently we anticipate work to begin on the MSCP in December 2024 and will be completed by the end of 2025.
How can I keep updated on progress around the car park proposal over the coming weeks and months?
We will post regular updates through our social media channels and on our website and we will work with the local media to make sure they have access to the latest information and are able to cover the details in full.
If you would like to sign up to our monthly newsletter about how we are modernising our hospital, including our proposals for a new car park, and the progress being made on our new hospital, please contact us and we will add you to our email list.
Our journey so far
Our plans for a new QEH
A new hospital that is fit for the future for many decades to come will enable us to provide outstanding care in world-class facilities and meet the demands of our growing and ageing population.