A FRESH call for a multi-storey car park at the John Radcliffe Hospital has racked up 600 signatures from frustrated residents and drivers.

The petition for more bays at the hospital was called for by Mick Haines, an independent councillor for Marston.

He started the bid at the beginning of April, taking it around to each house in the area, and within 24 hours had accumulated 100 signatures.

Read about the fresh call for a bigger car park here

Since then, residents have been voting overwhelmingly in favour of a bigger car park with the petition snowballing into 600 voices.

However, despite the daily gridlock and the dozens of formal complaints and long-running calls for a multi-storey, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) said its hands were tied due to planning guidelines which prevent the number of spaces being increased at the site.

Mr Haines said: "Something has got to be done. It needs a multi-storey car park. I shall carry on with this, I will keep going and will be persistent until there is a change.

Oxford Mail:

"I've had a brilliant reception. About 10 residents were against the idea, but we are at 600 signatures now.

"A lot of residents have said it's lucky they can walk up there, but it's the people from outside of Oxford that struggle to get in.

"The thing is, the problem is getting worse year on year, it's not getting any better as time goes on."

Traffic in and around the hospital is in daily gridlock, and is being exacerbated by the Access to Headington roadworks scheme.

Read more: Questions raised over the John Radcliffe Hospital parking plans

Mr Haines explained that the council have suggested people should use public transport to get in, however that isn't always possible.

A spokesperson at OUH also encouraged patients to hop on a bus, and leave parking for 'those who really need it'.

One hospital visitor who asked to remain anonymous said he had grown infuriated with the parking problems while visiting his father in intensive care over the past month following an operation.

The 31-year-old, who lives in Faringdon, said: “It’s absolutely ridiculous – I try to drive up there to visit my dad on my lunch breaks and after work and end up sat in a queue for the car park for half an hour.

Oxford Mail:

“If I had to get public transport I just wouldn’t be able to make these quick visits every day, which we’ve been told help his recovery.

“The awful parking situation hasn’t stopped me from driving up there, just like it clearly hasn’t stopped hundreds of other drivers, it’s just made us all more irritated and frustrated while we’re going through a difficult time visiting our loved ones in hospital.”

It comes after years of patients hitting out over the parking problem at the hospital – which leads to wait of up to an hour most days to find a space.

Last year, a husband of one patient who was forced to walk to A&E because of the traffic, claimed the situation could result in death.

Read the story again here

In 2017 plans to build a multi-storey were scuppered due to planning guidelines which were put in place by Oxford City Council in an effort to reduce the traffic in Headington.

And current rules set out by the council state there should be no overall increase in private car parking spaces in busy areas like Headington.

In an effort to alleviate some of the parking pressures, OUH bosses have already implemented some measures like moving admin staff to Cowley to free up spaces and sending day patients to Horton General Hospital.

In March, the trust announced the installation of ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) at the Headington hospital in an effort to combat the long-running parking issue.

According tot he plan, the new tech will provide quicker ways in and out as motorists will not have to wait for a ticket - improving traffic flow and showing patients where the spaces are.

A spokesperson at OUH added: “National and local planning guidelines meant that implementing extra parking spaces our hospitals is highly unlikely. With this in mind, we’re not likely to submit a planning application for additional spaces.”