NHS Borders has confirmed to The Southern that it is considering applying for planning permission to create more car parking at the BGH.
A spokeswoman for the health board revealed this week that initial work is being carried out, which could lead to an application to the council to increase parking provision within the hospital grounds by almost 80 spaces.
She said: “The board is currently updating its travel plan, a prerequisite document to support future planning applications, which will incorporate plans for the expansion of three of the current car parks to create an additional 79 spaces.
“Subject to planning permission, it is hoped that this work will be complete by autumn 2014.”
In response to last week’s article, which highlighted ongoing concerns in Darnick about the number of BGH staff parking in the village’s streets, the spokeswoman said: “There are currently 962 car parking spaces at the BGH, proportionately higher than most hospitals within Scotland in relation to hospital size and staff numbers.”
She added that representatives of NHS Borders would be happy to attend a further public meeting to discuss the parking problems in Darnick.
Village resident Gordon Wingfield last week called for a second public meeting on the matter as he feels that the car parking situation in the village has not improved since villagers met with NHS Borders’ chief executive Calum Campbell and colleagues in early December.
Mr Wingfield’s calls for a fresh meeting were backed by community councillor Bridget Khursheed, who helped to organise the first one.
Responding to this week’s development, Mr Wingfield told us: “If they are going to create 79 more long-stay car parking spaces that should certainly help quite a bit, as there is regularly that number of cars parked in the centre of Darnick.”
Mr Wingfield added that if a public meeting could be organised, then information regarding the potential use of these extra spaces could be ‘teased out’ from NHS Borders representatives.
At the earlier public, meeting NHS Borders bosses had indicated their reluctance to build more car parking spaces at the hospital.
However, they did implement changes following the meeting, including creating car sharing permits and dedicated spaces for staff to try to alleviate the problems.