THE mother of a disabled toddler is complaining about the return of pay-and-display charges to a hospital car park.
Isobel Wood, 32, of Avenue Road, Gosport, takes her two-year-old daughter Poppy for regular appointments at Gosport Medical Centre, part of the Gosport War Memorial Hospital site.
Poppy suffers from a genetic condition which means the joints in her body can suddenly tighten or go limp.
She can only walk short distances and needs frequent visits to the family doctor.
Mrs Wood has parked in the nearest car park to the medical centre for free since Poppy was born.
But two weeks ago, charges were suddenly re-introduced after two years of free parking.
Mrs Wood said: ‘I have to take my daughter to the GP a lot due to her disability.
‘This could cost me a lot of money, which we can ill-afford as I’m on maternity leave.
‘The problem is, you don’t know how long you are going to be in there for.
‘I can’t keep going in and out if I have my kids with me.
‘The last thing you want to be worried about if you have taken an injured child to the unit is clock-watching for the car park.’
NHS Hampshire, which controls the site, says the parking charges were introduced in 2005.
Construction work in 2009 meant the pay-and-display charges were suspended while it was carried out.
Work was completed in September last year, but charges were only reinstated two weeks ago.
NHS Hampshire said anyone with a blue disabled parking badge can use the disabled bays or if they are being used, they can park in a pay-and-display space for free.
Director of capital planning at NHS Hampshire Inger Hebden said: ‘For the period of building work, the additional spaces near the medical centre were being used for site cabins and workers and were therefore not subject to charges.
‘Now this work has been completed these new parking spaces are available for pay and display use.
‘Should anyone displaying a blue disabled badge not be able to park in a disabled space, they can park for free in a pay-and-display space using their badge.’