Planning application submitted for multi-storey car park for Wigan Infirmary

Plans have been submitted for Wigan Infirmary’s first multi-storey car park, which would have hundreds of parking spaces for staff and visitors.
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The existing surface car park on Freckleton Street in Swinley would be developed to create parking on the ground and three further levels.

A total of 611 parking spaces would be available - 584 standard spaces and 27 disabled spaces - with 10 for electric charging.

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A planning statement says the hospital trust is under “very considerable pressure to increase both beds and outpatient facilities”, which will mean more demand for parking spaces.

The car park on Freckleton StreetThe car park on Freckleton Street
The car park on Freckleton Street

It is hoped having the new spaces in one place would improve problems with parking on the main hospital site.

However, it will not mean an increase in the number of spaces, as the car park would replace the 231 spaces already available on Freckleton Street, 324 at Mesnes Terrace, which is being returned to the landowner Wigan Council, and 72 spaces currently on the site of the former pathology laboratories, where a new ward will be built.

Parking has long been an issue at the hospital site and the Observer revealed last year that talks about the potential for multi-storey car parks were being held.

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The planning application from Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust was received by the council’s planning department on Thursday, April 16.

A planning statement prepared by Roman Sumner Associates Ltd and submitted with the application says the site measures around 0.6 hectares and was once used by a large coachbuilding works.

It is now part of the Wigan Lane conservation area and mainly residential, with letters about the proposals already sent to people living nearby.

The planning statement says: “The site comprises accessible brownfield land currently used for parking purposes associated with the hospital.

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“It is located within a predominantly residential environment, which has called for a particularly careful and sensitive approach to the design and layout, and how the car park will be accessed most efficiently and with minimal disruption to neighbours.”

Vehicles would access the car park from Freckleton Street, with pedestrian access from Wigan Lane.

Consultation on the planning application runs until mid-May, with a decision expected to be made by July 16.

David Evans, the hospital trust's director of estates and facilities, said: "Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust originally explored the feasibility of developing multi-storey car parking at a number of locations on the Wigan hospital site as a way of improving visitor and staff parking.

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"Following internal discussions late last year, it was determined that the only available site of any size was the former pathology laboratory at the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary (RAEI). This has since been considered to be a more appropriate location for the new community ward development as it allows direct access onto the hospital street system for movement of patients, staff and equipment.

"One long-standing issue which still needs to be fully addressed at the RAEI site is access and additional parking capacity for our patients, visitors and key staff groups who regularly leave site to attend other hospitals and patients in the community.

"The existing ground level car park at our Freckleton Street site provides us with an opportunity to expand car parking without compromising the limited development space at the main hospital, required for the provision of wards and clinical facilities in the future in accordance with our site development control plans. A recent example of this being the urgent need to expand critical care and specialist ward facilities to accommodate patients affected by Covid-19.

"The planning application submitted on the trust’s behalf by our architects Day Architecture is for a 3.5-storey car park providing a total of 611 spaces. The design submitted is specifically set back from the current boundary of the site and uses high quality materials and extensive landscaping which we believe will enhance the Wigan Lane Conservation Area as well as providing much-needed car parking for the hospital."

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