A HOSPITAL'S park and ride scheme is to be extended until the end of October.

Pressure has been mounting on Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) to review the decision to end the free transport scheme, which takes patients from the former Hotpoint factory site in Bodelwyddan to Glan Clwyd Hospital.

The service, used by thousands on patients, was due to stop running on June 30.

Journal readers have been voicing their concerns over plans to halt the service. Cllr Gareth Lloyd Davies has launched a petition about the "nonsensical decision" to withdraw the service.

Denbighshire Free Press:

Four more months for the hospital's park and ride

Betsi Cadwaladr has now confirmed that it has extended its contract to provide the park and ride service for a further four months, until October 31.

This comes after an agreement was reached with Arriva.

A spokesperson from BCUHB said: "By extending the service for a further four months, we will have additional time to look at ways to ease parking on site at Glan Clwyd Hospital. It will also give visitors to the site and our staff time to look at alternative ways of travelling to the hospital once the park and ride closes.

"It remains our intention to stop operating the park and ride after October 31.

"Over the coming months, we continue to ask visitors to the site to help us to reduce the impact of traffic on site.

"Visitors are urged to consider using public transport where possible, and to take into account time needed to find a parking space when planning a visit to the site."

The health board is asking staff to consider car-sharing arrangements to help free up parking spaces on site.

A cycle to work scheme is also being promoted.

The park and ride scheme was introduced in October 2014 to help ease parking pressures and traffic congestion while redevelopment work went on at the hospital.

Ann Jones, AM for Vale of Clwyd, welcomed the extension but urged health bosses to look at ways to make the service permanent.

Ms Jones said: “I was instrumental in setting up the Park and Ride Scheme at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. I made sure that the board obtained the land necessary and liaised with Arriva buses to provide the service. 

"I believe that the board does have the capacity to protect the service and I will be urging them to look at ways of delivering this.

"Whenever I have used the Park and Ride it is always busy and constituents have often told me how much they value it. I will continue to ensure the board explore all options to keep this vital service open, a service which is of importance to the well being of patients, their families and visitors.”

Darren Millar, AM for Clwyd West, is also calling for the service to become permanent.

He said: "It is clear from the many messages from my constituents that the Glan Clwyd Park and ride facility is convenient and valued by many patients and staff members and scrapping it will inconvenience a lot of people.  

“Parking has always been a problem at Glan Clwyd and it has become the norm for patients and visitors to arrive extra early for appointments andvisiting times just to secure a space.

“The last thing you need when you or a loved one are poorly is a struggle to find a parking space, so while this extension is welcome, it is not enough and I will continue campaigning until the health board agree that this scheme can remain for good.”  

The land - where the park and ride operates from - was leased initially for a period of 18 months, with an option to review the contract annually thereafter.

Before the extension, the contract for the land was due to terminate at the end of the month.