INCOME from car parks at Furness General Hospital has seen a decline of £70,000-a-year in the last three years.

Information obtained by The Mail showed the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust made £204,805 in 2017/18, £207,997 in 2016/17, and £197,881 in 2015/16.

Figures released in 2016 car parking charges at FGH saw drivers hand over a total of £266,000 in 2014/2015 £271,000 in 2013/14 and £274,000 in 2012/13.

Hospital parking charges and a shortage of spaces for both visitors and staff means many choose instead to park on neighbouring residential streets leading to growing frustrations among the community.

An Elterwater Crescent resident described their road as "a well known free dumping place for persons attending Furness General Hospital".

Nearby resident and Barrow Borough Councillor for Hawcoat Dave Roberts, said the costs meant the streets of the area had become an overspill hospital car park for visitors and staff.

"This has been going on for 20 years and it's getting worse," Cllr Roberts said.

"We need this hospital and it's obviously busier than ever - but a solution needs to be found that helps to get the volume of parked cars off the roads, allows staff travelling into the area to park affordably and to ensure there is space available for visitors when they arrive at what is usually a stressful time for them."

Last month the hospital trust announced it was working on plans to create a new staff car park. Bosses expect to submit a planning application after Christmas.

County Cllr Roy Worthington has been campaigning for a solution to the FGH parking issue since becoming a councillor, and welcomed the plan.

He said: “I have visited Furness General Hospital on various occasions to speak to their assistant estates director about the ongoing parking problem - and have remained in contact to find a solution.

“This announcement from UHMBT is very welcome news for the residents of Hawcoat who have endured the problems the lack of enough parking spaces causes.”