PLANS to build a new £2 million staff car park at Colchester Hospital are set to be approved.

The East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust wants planning permission to create a single deck extension to an existing staff car park at the Turner Road site.

The new extension would provide an additional 152 parking spaces exclusively for employees.

Staff parking at the hospital is already under severe strain with only about 1,000 designated places for 3,000 staff.

Late last year more than 100 staff car parking spaces were given over to patients using the new urgent treatment centre.

So designs for the car park extension were drawn up to replace the lost spaces.

However, concerns have been raised, including by Colchester Cycling Campaign, the development will increase the number of car journeys to the hospital and worsen the site’s carbon footprint.

A planning report states: “The proposal is for a car park so is clearly car-dependent.

“The application is, however, supported by a travel plan which proposes various measures and initiatives aimed at reducing the number of car journeys to and from the hospital in general.

“There are over 70 proposals within the submitted Travel Plan.”

These include actions like employing a specialised travel plan co-ordinator, creating a “no idling zone” inside the grounds and building a travel information centre on site.

The report continues: “The proposals demonstrate actions will be taken to reduce the hospital’s carbon footprint.

“It is considered measures can be secured which would contribute to achieving sustainable development.”

Planning experts at Colchester Council have recommended the plans for approval when they come before the authority’s planning committee on Thursday.

Officers have suggested a timescale is set out within which the measures set out in the travel plan are implemented.