Baldock Manor parking battle as staff continue to defy both neighbours and management

Baldock Manor. Picture: Danny Loo

Baldock Manor. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

Staff from the Baldock Manor mental health centre continue to park in nearby streets – prompting neighbours to challenge them and managers to threaten disciplinary action.

The hospital off London Road has very little parking provision for its staff, and offers them spaces behind the Tesco superstore at the end of the High Street, a short walk away.

But some employees continue to park in the nearby residential streets Anchor Road and Hillcrest – annoying neighbours and, according to some, causing potential hazards.

One Baldock Manor staff member has contacted the Comet to complain that managers at the hospital were threatening employees with disciplinary action if they were found to park in Anchor Road or Hillcrest.

They say this was unfair on the grounds that anyone can park legally in those roads, and allege that neighbours have harassed Baldock Manor staff who parked there by leaving notes on cars and even damaging them.

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The staff member, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Comet: “We do 12½-hour shifts, and the nearest place to park is in in Anchor Road or Hillcrest – so we usually park in there.

“There’s no parking restrictions, but the residents of these roads have been complaining to the manager, saying no-one can park there.

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“They say people have been blocking their driveways, which is not true, and that we’re blocking emergency access – which is also not true. The road is wide enough.

“They’ve been putting rude notes on people’s cars and taking pictures of the cars, then calling the hospital and telling them to ring around and ask if it’s one of us. There have been cases of cars being scratched or keyed, too.

“The manager has said any staff member who parks in Hillcrest or Anchor Road will face disciplinary action, for about four or five months now. She’s pandering to the residents.

“If they’ve got such an issue with it, why don’t they try to get residents’ bays or something like that put in? We’ve all got a right to park there. They’re acting as if they own the road.”

The neighbours argue that parking is difficult enough without cars from Baldock Manor too, and that the situation can block the way for emergency vehicles.

One Hillcrest resident told the Comet: “Parking here is a pain at the best of times. At the top of the cul-de-sac residents are deliberately leaving their cars on the road or leaving cones out to try to prevent Baldock Manor staff from parking their cars there.

“I am aware of notes left on windscreens but not of any confrontation or damage.

“We used to have similar issues with Rentokil when they owned it – once a month, when all their sales staff convened for the day.

“We have had at least one occasion where an ambulance couldn’t get right down the bottom of the road. A fire engine would definitely have a challenging time after 5pm most days, but that’s largely due to residents parking their cars badly.

“I am aware of the Tesco offer, and the Baldock Manor management position to try and assist us and Anchor Road – but people are inherently lazy.”

When Anchor Road neighbours launched a petition against Baldock Manor staff parking in their street last year, the hospital’s then-director Phil Massetti said he was unaware of any of employees causing parking problems.

He added: “We, as a company, are not in a position to check where visitors or members of staff park or how they park.

“However, I must stress we do not condone anybody breaking the rules of the Highway Code and will remind all of our staff to be considerate to others when parking.”

Baldock Manor’s new manager Karen Hartland has yet to respond to the Comet’s request for comment.

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