Health bosses have agreed with the public and settled on a ‘vertical fin’ design for a 271 vehicle, four-storey car park to be built at the Princess of Wales hospital, Ely.
It is part of a wider redevelopment scheme for the Princess of Wales site granted outline planning permission two years ago.
East Cambridgeshire District Council has approved the new car park design.
It heard that a pre application consultation for the car park took place last May with leaflet drops to nearby residents as well as 500 leaflets available in the hospital for staff and visitors.
A website was created for people to leave comments without needing to visit the hospital in person
The leaflets offered three options for façade design of the new multi storey car park.
The 3 options were: Option 1 – Vertical fins Option 2 – Horizontal fins Option 3 – Perforated panels.
The council was told that a total of 98 responses were received and 54 of these were supportive of the vertical fins approach.
The next favourite was the perforated panel option which had the support of 31 people.
“The feedback clearly showed that the vertical fins approach was the one most favoured by responses,” says a report to East Cambs Council.
“Clearly the facade design incorporating the use of vertical fins had the most support of those who responded as part of the pre application stage of consultation.”
The new multi-storey car park is proposed on the site of the former MOD social club building, squash club building and porters lodge which were demolished in 2022.
It will comprise a standalone 4 storey car park building of approximately 34m in height with 271 parking bays (16 of which are disabled), 8 motorcycle bays and 108 cycle bays.
Planning officer Anne James said in her report: “The site has been operating as a hospital since the 1940s and has been extended and added to in an ad-hoc and unsympathetic manner.
“The redevelopment of the site brings with it opportunities, not only to improve the health and well-being of visitors, but to remove dilapidated buildings that have impacted negatively on the visual amenities and character of the area.”
She said they would be replaced with “a cohesive, state of the art health facility capable of delivering modern health care provision which is seen as a significant public benefit.
“Moreover, the provision of a 271-space multi-storey car park, which is free to use, would centralise parking within one area and reduce the amount of displacement parking currently occurring within neighbouring streets.”
Ms James said that a number of concerns have been raised by residents living within the vicinity of the application site “in terms of the injurious impact on outlook which will be ruined by the car park. In particular from gardens ‘where it will loom large over us, and cast some properties into complete shadow at certain times’
“Furthermore, it has been raised that the outline permission for the redevelopment of the Princess of Wales hospital did not appear in any land searches and had purchasers been aware of this fact it would have deterred them from purchasing their properties.
“In answer to these criticisms, it has been established that the hospital undertook a rigorous community engagement exercise notifying approximately 30,000 people.
“The council when undertaking the consultation exercise of the outline application notified 424 residents and received 11 responses. Properties including those in Nigel Road were all consulted at that time.”
The British Parking Association, asked to comment on the scheme, said: “Every new parking facility is different in terms of locale, design, and usage.
“The design of a new facility can never be prescriptive – multi-storey developments in a city centre will have different security requirements from a rural surface level car park.”
Their report added: “I note within the application documentation that the design has been out for public consultation and the fenestration of the building is to have vertical car park fins.
“This would be my recommendation as it enables an improved surveillance from within the car park,
“I would not recommend any vertical planting, or planting on the building as they can be used as a climbing aide, they restrict visibility and can damage the structure.”
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