4:00pm Thursday 24th January 2013
By Adam Binnie
Disabled people visiting St Albans City Hospital will no longer be able to park for free, after the trust which runs the site scrapped the scheme in the interest of "fairness and equality".
From April, blue-badge holders will have to pay the same parking charge as any other visitors to West Herts NHS Hospitals Trust sites in St Albans, Watford and Hemel Hempstead.
This is just months after the trust rejected calls for a lower parking charge at its Watford site, because it was locked into a contract until 2015.
Louise Gaffney, director of strategy and infrastructure, said: "This decision was not made lightly by the trust board.
"It will create fairness and equality for everyone needing to use the hospital car parks. Trust staff with a blue-badge are charged for parking on site.
Ms Gaffney said there will still be priority spaces for disabled visitors, discounts for frequently visitors, and free 30-minute bays.
She added: "Many other NHS Trusts and local authorities charge Blue Badge holders to use car parking facilities."
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