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Watford General’s multi-storey car park design secures top spot

Posted: 29 November 2022

Picture of the multi-storey car park at Watfor General Hospital

Watford General Hospital's multi-storey car park has won a national design award at the British Parking Awards 2022.

Its layout, improved disability access, quality of the construction, use of number plate recognition and contribution to carbon reduction are all factors which impressed the judges.

The new £40m facility – which opened on time and on budget earlier this year – is a welcome replacement for the ground level parking that preceded it. The fact that the first 30 minutes are free has been a great relief for friends and relatives who want a bit more time when dropping off or picking up patients.

There are no longer queues to park and, importantly, the need to walk up and down the steep hill on the hospital site has been eradicated through the location and design of the entrance and exit.

Lifts in the car park open out onto a gently sloping ramp which is much closer to the hospital's main entrance. This makes walking or pushing a wheelchair or pushchair much quicker and far easier than before.

Spaces within the car park are generous with 1,465 bays, including over 70 disabled parking bays, and the design means there are no tight corners to negotiate. Clear signage and surface marking make it easy to use and the lighting and access to 24 hour help are a major step forward in making its users feel safe and supported.

The route to the car park is along the recently opened Thomas Sawyer Way, taking cars away from Vicarage Road, which can be busy during rush hour. And having a three-laned entrance and number plate recognition makes for a smooth and quick entrance into the facility. There are also information boards displaying the number of car parking spaces available by floor.

Additionally, measures to reduce carbon emissions have been used. There are more than 120 electric charging points which will go live in early 2023. The car park has a south facing roof which is ideal for the 1,248 solar panels which will generate up to 468 kw of low carbon energy a day for West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (WHTH).

The design award jointly recognises the NHS trust and its partners Fatkin, Kier and HUBER (the architects, developer and car park system provider).

Tracey Carter, chief nurse, said: "Coming to hospital can be stressful and we know that trying to find a parking space can add to that anxiety. The car park is the first part of the hospital that many patients encounter and so we are pleased that it is light, bright and easy to find and use. We are grateful to patients who worked with us on the design."

The seven-floor car park is next to land earmarked for the redeveloped Watford General Hospital and will link directly to the new building (which has been granted outline planning permission). The trust is part of the national New Hospital Programme and is currently awaiting a government decision on funding.

Tim Duggleby, the trust's associate redevelopment programme director, said: "The car park is a great first step to our redevelopment plans. The quality of the construction and design and the speed with which it was built, during the height of the pandemic, are a positive sign of what can be achieved. I’d also like to pay tribute to the builders who brought these plans to life with minimum disruption to patients, staff and visitors."

He added that the hospital's redevelopment plans feature more disabled bays and drop off and pick up zones and that the trust is continuing to work with partners to improve access by public transport and bicycle.

Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor, said: “Congratulations to the design team for this award. I am pleased that the car park has been recognised not only for its modern look but also the lengths to which the car park has been made accessible for people with mobility issues and electric car ready.

“This car park is a key part of the plans to build a hospital fit for the 21st century. It is essential that we deliver new facilities at Watford General Hospital and we have taken tough decisions to back these plans. I want to see that investment happen soon, so that Watford General Hospital can continue to provide great care for local residents.”



Notes to editors

  1. More information about the multi-storey car park can be viewed here and read in this leaflet here.
  2. The proposed redevelopment of West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s estate is to update and replace hospital buildings as well as improve how the trust delivers hospital care for people in west Hertfordshire. At Watford General Hospital the trust proposes to move all clinical services currently provided there into new buildings on land next to the current site. There will be some new build and extensive refurbishment at its hospitals in Hemel Hempstead and St Albans. Please visit the trust’s redevelopment webpages to find out more.
  3. For more information, please contact the communications team on: 01923 436280 or email: For out of hours media enquiries please call the Watford General Hospital switchboard on 01923 244366 and ask for the on call communications manager.
  4. West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust serves people from across Hertfordshire, north London and further afield. It operates from three hospitals; Watford General, St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead. The trust has a catchment area of over 500,000 people and is one of the largest employers locally, with around 5,000 staff and volunteers.
  5. For more information about our hospitals, visit You can also join our followers on Twitter ( and find us on Facebook (