NHS Richmond has defended a decision to introduce charges for parking at Teddington Memorial Hospital.

When Richmond Council was consulting on its scheme to introduce parking charges based on CO2 emissions in car parks – bringing them into line with controlled parking zones – NHS Richmond asked for parking charges to be introduced at the Hampton Road hospital.

The car park charges are due to come into force on Tuesday and the consultation document states charges at the hospital will be introduced “four weeks after”, although an October 5 date is also in the paperwork.

The Teddington Society requested an urgent meeting to voice its concerns and Baroness Jenny Hilton, chairwoman, met with NHS Richmond representatives last week.

The society reported NHS Richmond was “unwilling” to alter the plans.

An NHS Richmond spokesman said: “The primary care trust wants to ensure that the car park is prioritised for patients and visitors to the hospital and clinic which takes account of disabled parking.

“There have been problems in the past with people parking at the hospital who are shopping locally or parking in Teddington for a purpose other than accessing healthcare.

“In order to minimise this type of misuse, there is a requirement for controlled parking and it was considered appropriate to impose a charge that is in line with other borough-controlled car parks.”

He added the request had been made as part of a green travel plan for the new Teddington Health and Social Care Centre, which opened in June.

The Teddington Society said it expressed concerns shared by Hampton Wick Association, Twickenham Society, Hampton Hill Society, and Teddington and Hampton Wick Voluntary Care Group, which is based opposite the hospital and knew nothing about the proposed charges until it was alerted by the Teddington Society.

A spokesman for the charitable care group said: “We transport several people each week for appointments at Teddington Hospital. Most of them are elderly and frail and go to various clinics.

“One never knows how long the appointments may be and it would be awful to expect pensioners, who in many cases already find it hard to make ends meet, to pay a parking charge.”

The society also called for a study into the alleged abuse of the car park and are concerned about the effect the charges will have on patients.

Councillor David Trigg, Richmond Council cabinet member for traffic, transport and parking, said: “Having decided to charge for use of their car park Teddington Hospital approached Richmond Council and asked us to run the service for them. “Subject to consultation we will be happy to assist them with this project.

“Accordingly, we will charge an administration fee for the service with all surplus revenue being retained by the hospital.”

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