HEALTH bosses are looking at ways of boosting car parking capacity at the Royal Gwent Hospital, in the event of an existing site being withdrawn.

And a “worst case” scenario outlined in an Aneurin Bevan Health Board report would be a multi-storey car park on the hospital site, which could cost up to £16 million.

The hospital’s longstanding parking woes are well documented and queues to get into the limited spaces at the front of the site are common.

A well-established car park off Mendalgief Road is very busy, though there is another 300-space car park further down and on the opposite side of, this road.

The latter however, on the site of the former Whiteheads steelworks, is leased from the Welsh Government and “may cease to become available” warns a section of the health board’s medium term plan. Whiteheads is a major brownfield site for which extensive redevelopment plans exist, and though nothing is in the pipeline at present, at some point in the future the hospital car park may no longer be available for use.

Though the hospital is set for a new role in several years’ time, as some of its current services are transferred to the planned Specialist and Critical Care Centre to be built near Cwmbran, it will continue to have a vital part to play as a local general hospital for Newport and other parts of south Gwent.

That will mean it is likely to remain extremely busy, and that parking constraints are unlikely to be solved without considerable investment.

Even with several hundred extra car parking spaces that could be provided due to an extension plan, future, more permanent parking solutions need to be drawn up, as this provision too could be reclaimed by the Welsh Government if the prospect of regeneration comes nearer to reality with a recovering economy.

The report states that “a number of options are under consideration” though it does not go into details, except to highlight that worst case scenario regarding a multi-storey car park.

This would be near-impossible to locate on the current site without the need to remove existing buildings, while considerable traffic management issues would result.