NHS staff have been hit with fines for parking in roads around Southend Hospital because they are “none the wiser” over a change in charging hours.

Nurses have watched parking wardens slap fines on cars parked on roads outside the hospital, where charging hours have have been revised, Conservative councillors say.

Senior Tories claim Southend Council has failed to inform staff and patients of the changes, introduced alongside the new parking pass in the town, but this has been dismissed by a parking boss.

The new parking rules on roads including Cardigan Avenue and Hillborough Road, now see drivers charged seven days a week, from 8am to 6pm, rather than 9.30am to 4.30pm for five days a week.


Kevin Buck, Tory spokesman for transport, claimed he and fellow Tory councillor Meg Davidson had received complaints from staff and patients.

He said: “The new charges mean that some cannot complete a full shift at the hospital, so now have to worry about moving their car, paying more and topping up meters or finding alternative arrangements.

“We continue to live through a once in a life time global pandemic and are now seemingly coming out the other side.

“At the centre of this and saving lives whilst risking their own, has been our truly dedicated NHS staff.”

Ms Davidson, councillor for Prittlewell, added: “Staff had no idea about the new charging hours.When they’re not aware, they’re not going to looking at the small print on the signs.”

Ron Woodley, Independent councillor responsible for transport, insisted significant communication had taken place over the changes to parking times.

He stressed: said: “Throughout the pandemic, we have been providing free parking for key workers, including NHS staff, through our key worker permit.

"In line with national guidance, this permit is currently still valid up until the end of June, and has been well received and popular with the key workers who applied for it, and I would like to thank them for their continued efforts throughout the pandemic.

“As part of the 2021/22 budget setting process, changes to parking charges, new zones and consistent hours of charging across the Borough were all approved to start from 1 April 2021.  

"Changes to parking charges, new zones and consistent hours of charging across the borough were all approved to start from April 1.

“These changes were publicised through a statutory public notice, alongside extensive media coverage on the subject from January onwards, communications on the council’s website and social media, and new signage.

“The charging times and prices for each location are stated on our pay-and-display machines and on the relevant signage.”