Still no cure in sight for surgery parking

Protesters led by SNP councillor Debbi McCall (right) pictured in June when the car park changes were made.
Protesters led by SNP councillor Debbi McCall (right) pictured in June when the car park changes were made.

Penicuik Medical Practice has turned down an offer of four staff parking spaces from a supermarket to free up space for patients in its own car park.

Since June, the Lidl store in Penicuik has made visitors enter their car registration at the checkout or face a fine of up to £90 for using its car park. This led to criticism on the impact it would have on patients attending the neighbouring surgery.

Councillor Adam Montgomery (Lab) has since met with two senior representatives from Lidl to try to resolve the issue. A compromise solution which offered four designated car spaces in the Lidl car park for staff at the Imrie Place practice to free up space in the surgery’s private car park at the rear has been turned down by Penicuik Medical Practice.

Cllr Montgomery, who wrote to Lidl asking for a meeting, told the Advertiser: “The representatives from Lidl were very positive about finding a solution and I have to say I feel its offer of four spaces is very fair and would have freed up the same number at the rear of Imrie Place, trebling the number available for patient use.”

The surgery presently has 19 emergency staff spaces and two for disabled patients – the offer from Lidl would have taken this up to six.

Cllr Montgomery added: “I am disappointed that the offer from Lidl has been turned down and I have asked Lidl to leave the offer on the table with the surgery and they have agreed to do this.”

Despite expressing a desire to work with Lidl to find a solution, Penicuik Medical Practice manager Rachel Hall told the Advertiser that Cllr Montgomery’s proposed solution was not workable.

She said: “If we opened up our car park at the rear it would be a free for all and we couldn’t police that. It’s just not manageable as there are more than four patients in here at one time.

“There was previously an understanding with Lidl that our patients could park there for 90 minutes which was fine. Our staff couldn’t use it as obviously they would be parked for longer, which is why they use our car park.”

Despite turning down the offer the practice is still open to further discussions. Ms Hall said: “If Lidl could come up with something else then yes, we are willing to talk. I would have gone to the meeting but Cllr Montgomery only told me about it after it had taken place.”

She added that the car park to the rear of the surgery, owned by the health board, has no space to be extended.