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Rethink plea over disabled parking at St Albans City Hospital
Politicians have called on the district council to put pressure on the trust that looks after St Albans City Hospital to reconsider plans to start charging disabled visitors to park.
At a full council meeting on Tuesday evening members of all political parties voted unanimously on a motion asking the chief executive to write to West Herts Hospital Trust.
Green councillor Simon Grover, who raised the issue, said: "There has been a lot of shock and surprise from members of the public who heard about this issue.
"I just find this extraordinary."
The hospital trust, which also runs Watford General, announced in January that people with blue badges would no longer be exempt from the £4 parking charge from April.
At Tuesday’s meeting Councillor Malachy Pakenham, the Labour representative for Batchwood, said: "This is effectively a tax on ill health.
"This is highly relevant to lots of people. It is disgraceful."
Liberal Democrat councillor Aislinn Lee added: "It is absolutely criminal and immoral.
"I think this council united should stand up. Let's stand up for our residents with one voice.
"There is something wrong here."
Councillor Roma Mills also highlighted the trust’s plans to cancel shuttle bus from the hospital.
She said: "It is not just the parking. There are real issues here about people accessing health services.
"If we can’t easily get to the hospital then we are not going to benefit from a health service."
Councillor Chris Brazier said: "This really does open a whole debate about hospital parking.
"We need to put this to scrutiny to look at the whole issue.
"It has become a wider issue of people visiting relatives and friends.
"I really do think that the hospital is not in control of the car parking."
All councillors in the chamber voted in support of Councillor Grover’s motion.
Councillor Robert Donald added: "This is a very sensitive issue and it seems to be being handled in an insensitive way by the trust.
"I would like the council to do what it can to put leverage on the trust to change their minds."