Bronglais Hospital revealed their latest plans for a £30.5 million extension at a public exhibition today. Although the extension plans have been public since last year, a planned new Park & Ride at Frongoch Farm on Clarach Road was being shown to the public for the first time. This would provide 200 parking spaces, 100 for the hospital and 100 for the University. The section of Clarach Road leading to the current field would be widened and a pavement provided. The planning application is due to be submitted in the next week. Objections to the development of a greenfield site may come from residents in that area.
Changes to the five-storey hospital extension since it was last shown to the public include the building being moved back six metres from the road, to be in line with the existing hospital, and the fourth and fifth storeys being stepped back to avoid an overwhelming appearance in Caradog Road. A pedestrian link though to the Penglais side has also been included at the request of residents.
Although it had been hoped that the provision of an extra layer on the hospital car park would increase car parking capacity, plans now show capacity being increased by just one - from the current 222 to 223 places. This is due to the moving back of the new building from Caradog Road, the provision of additional disabled spaces and conditions laid down by the Trunk Road Agency. However the car park will be supplemented by the extra 100 places in the Park & Ride.
The intention is to run a shuttle mini-bus between the Park & Ride and the hospital from 7am - 10pm.
Only designated staff will be allowed to park on the hospital site, the rest being allocated for patients and visitors. Other hospital staff will be strongly encouraged to use the Park & Ride. However, until the County Council provides a Residents' Parking scheme, there will be nothing preventing staff from parking in the crowded streets around the hospital as many do now to the consternation of local residents. On the other hand, the closing of the A&E entrance in Caradog Road would greatly reduce activity on that side and this may well result in fewer cars wanting to park in these streets.
The hospital's planned timetable for the development currently looks like this:
April 2009 - Planning application for new Park & Ride submitted
July 9th 2009 - Probable date for outstanding planning issues to be discussed by Council's Develoment Control Committee.
Aug-Nov 2009 - Park & Ride car park to be built
July-Aug 2010 - Demolition of old maternity unit and construction of extra layer on existing car park
Sept 2010-Sept 2012 - New extension to be built
Sept 2012-June 2014 - Internal refurbishment of new extension
June 2014 - Opening of new extension
Negotiations with the Trunk Road Agency over access from the Penglais side are understood to have been difficult but are now largely resolved. There is some anxiety that, with severe cuts in government funding, any further delay could jeopardise the whole scheme. Alan Axford, Medical Director of Hywel Dda NHS Trust, said, "If this development doesn't go ahead I'm absolutely certain that services will be centralised and they won't be centralised to Aberystwyth". The next step is for the Park & Ride planning application, together with remaining issues on the main site, to go to the Council's Development Control Committee, probably in July.