Health chiefs move to evict travellers from Newport hospital car park
11:44am Wednesday 23rd October 2013 in Gwent news
HEALTH chiefs yesterday issued legal letters to travellers in an attempt to move them off a hospital car park in Newport.
The travellers from Strasbourg in eastern France took up around 65 spaces at the Royal Gwent Hospital car park off Mendalgief Road on Saturday.
Aneurin Bevan University Health Board gave them until 4pm to leave yesterday but prepared to issue legal proceedings against them as their 13 caravans stayed in the Whiteheads car park.
The French group told the Argus they had taken a holiday in Wales having travelled through Calais last week.
They indicated they may return to the continent within the next three or four days, though one of them said they could leave the car park as early as today [October 23].
One traveller called Maria said yesterday: “We may leave tomorrow. We’re from Strasbourg.”
Another said: “We’ve been on holiday. We will be back in France in three or four days.”
The health board stressed the car park remained open with 200 free spaces and security on site, but members of the public have complained their presence had inconvenienced staff and visitors.
Royal Gwent hospital worker Sarah Kelland, 23, from Cwmbran, said yesterday: “It’s very hard to park as it is without someone taking an extra 65 spaces.
“It took me 20 minutes just to park this morning. The worst thing about it is that the NHS is having to pay for extra security. They already have a tight budget.
“Parking is a massive issue down here anyway, especially during visiting hours, so if staff are late to work because they can’t find a place to park, it is directly affecting patient care.”
Midwife Margot Ahern, 51, of Cardiff, said: “It’s been a nightmare for staff. I had to come early to park.”
Medical student Tabby Prest, 21, said: “The way they’ve parked means there isn’t a lot of space there for other cars.”
A 52-year-old hospital doctor from Cardiff added: “It’s been pretty awful for medical and nursing staff. We’re finding it difficult. You would have thought a hospital would be immune from that type of thing.”
An Aneurin Bevan spokesman said yesterday: “The health board has requested that the travellers leave our hospital car park by 4pm today.
“Given that the travellers are still here following our request, the health board confirms that it will now be taking legal proceedings to take back possession of the hospital car park.”
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