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The NHS Trust gets an environmentally friendly car park

14 July 2015

Vinci Park UK operates across all industry sectors including health, local authority, transport providers (airport and rail), retail/property development, and universities. It manages car parks on behalf of 13 local authorities across the UK, comprising a total of over 46,000 on and off street car park spaces.

The company says major public facilities with lots of visitors need a reliable parking supply. Achieving this requires specialist planning and implementation from day one, but the challenge is to do so without infringing on core budgets or the environment.

That was the problem faced by the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust in 2009 at its Lister Hospital site in Stevenage. At the time, patient and visitor parking onsite was stretched to capacity, with cars regularly queuing for spaces. Owing to the ongoing redevelopment at the hospital site, new services were scheduled to be transferred to the Lister Hospital which vastly increased the number of patients.

So after preparation and tender, the Trust tasked specialist parking operator Vinci Park with designing, building, financing and operating a new, environmentally friendly, 667 space multi-storey car park (MSCP) under a 30-year Private Funded Initiative (PFI) deal.

“The new MSCP had a budget of nearly £7m for construction, parking equipment, signage, and for the construction of the entranceway and public plaza,” says a spokesperson for Vinci Parks. “Sixty three of the 499 bays for patients and visitors were reserved for blue badge holders, doubling the site’s provision, and it also included a 24-hour staffed parking shop and CCTV – for added security and improved service.”

However, the car park also had to meet high standards of sustainability, so was given some unique environmental design features. One of these was a living ‘green wall’, a vertical garden stretching over one of the car park’s walls. “As well as looking good, it is designed to self-water, collecting rain water and filtering it back through the plants.”

To meet the Trust’s environmental and sustainability policies for carbon reduction and environmental improvements, wind turbine and photovoltaic cells were installed with a goal of generating 10% of electricity for the car park, the spokesperson says. “And in a bid to reduce electricity consumption, energy efficient LED lighting was installed that can be set for specific times, ensuring minimal wasted energy. Outside the car park, the landscaped plaza not only provides an accessible, pleasant and safe environment but includes a sculpture fashioned from an oak felled to make way for the new building.”

Electric vehicles are also catered for with four electric vehicle recharging points, and there are free undercover and secure parking spaces for 76 bicycles and 14 motorcycles.

“The Trust and Vinci also recognised that sustainability isn’t just about the environment. Lister Hospital is in the middle of a residential area, so a traffic management plan was also drawn up to ensure all the temporary arrangements for drop-off parking and routes were agreed prior to construction to ensure minimal disruptions to local residents and businesses.”

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