Larbert residents slate hospital travel plan

Traffic at the hospital is still a major problem for those living nearby
Traffic at the hospital is still a major problem for those living nearby

Residents in Larbert say plans designed to ease congestion on roads surrounding the new hospital need to be revised.

Streets around Forth Valley Royal Hospital are regularly filled with parked cars causing headaches for those living there.

NHS Forth Valley put a travel plan in place when the hospital opened in a bid to ensure this wouldn’t happen, but less than two years after it fully opened, parking is still a major problem according to residents.

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The travel plan includes steps to promote ‘sustainable’ measures like bus use, car sharing and cycling to reduce car travel, recognising the importance of limiting the impact locally. However, parking problems have regularly been raised at Larbert, Stenhousemuir and Torwood Community Council meetings.

Convenor Eric Appelbe said: “The NHS is trying to be a good neighbour, but I think they will accept the travel plan hasn’t worked.

“The problem a lot of the time is staff parking on streets and they seem very resistant to alternative travel outlined in the travel plan.

“Residents are becoming completely fed up with the number of cars parking, sometimes for up to 13 hours a day. The problem is causing a lot of animosity.”

NHS Forth Valley said action has been taken to reduce traffic pressures in residential areas, including a new 282-space car park with plans for an additional 212 spaces to be submitted to Falkirk Council very soon, which will increase car parking to just under 2000 spaces.

A spokesperson added: “A new staff car sharing scheme has been introduced and more than 440 staff are currently participating in this.

“Around 140 staff have purchased a bike through the Cycle to Work Scheme and over a quarter of staff working at the hospital choose not to drive to work. Traffic restrictions have been put in place in a number of key areas around the hospital and discussions are taking place with Falkirk Council regarding the possibility of introducing additional parking restrictions in a number of local residential streets.

Travel options to the hospital could also become more restricted as a three-year contract for bus routes from outlying areas comes to an end on August 18 with no alternative in place at the moment. The NHS said discussions are taking place at the moment to look at different options for the services in the future.