Willmott Dixon has been appointed to build a 654 space multi-storey car park at Dorset County Hospital (DCH) in Dorchester in the latest of a growing trend for the company.

The company recently completed similar size car park schemes in Liverpool, Sevenoaks and Canterbury and is now expanding this track-record further after health and care property developer Prime appointed it to deliver the DCH car park.

The 654 parking bays, which will span seven floors and include up to 68 EV charge points, will provide parking for patients, visitors and staff.  There will be new pay on exit parking management system, a dedicated disabled parking area and spaces for motorcycles. The project also includes providing cycle access and improving access by widening the roads on the hospital estate.

The new car park will free-up land for expanding the Emergency Department and Intensive Care Unit, as well as establishing an Integrated Care Hub as part of a long-term project to deliver the recommendations of Dorset’s Clinical Services Review.

Dorset County Hospital’s deputy chief executive Nick Johnson said: “We are delighted to be able to get the building work underway in the New Year, marking the start of a hugely significant and exciting period in DCH’s history. We would like to thank everyone who supported our planning application for the multi-storey as this scheme is the key to unlocking the future expansion of clinical services.”

“Our existing Emergency Department and ICU were not built to accommodate the volume of patients we are seeing now. Our clinical teams have responded magnificently to the additional challenges coronavirus has brought, but it is now clearer than ever that we must create additional space and facilities to ensure the safety of our patients. The development of these facilities is vital to make sure we are able to continue to meet the ever-increasing demand on our services and secure the future of Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester for a generation to come.”

Guy Kippen, Development Manager, Prime, said: “We’re thrilled to be commencing this project – the first to be launched under Prime’s Joint Venture Partnership with Dorset County Hospital.  In getting the project to this stage, we have seen and experienced first-hand the existing issues and problems faced every day by hospital patients, visitors and staff in accessing and parking at the hospital. Whilst this project is a first for Prime in many aspects, it is significant as it unlocks many opportunities for the Trust through our partnership and its masterplan.

“This project will consolidate existing parking areas and latent demand into one location, simplifying vehicle routes and improving parking and wayfinding within the hospital site. In addition to these improvements, the project will deliver a 10% net gain in biodiversity improvements.”

Richard Poulter, managing director for Willmott Dixon’s Central South region, added: “If coronavirus has taught us anything, it is the importance of our NHS and the infrastructure within which it can operate. The new car park will support the hospital in providing its critical service to the local community.  We are proud to be working, through Prime, with the hospital to deliver their day to day services and long-term aspirations.”

In the summer of 2020, Willmott Dixon handed over the 1,450 space Kings Dock Car Park to Liverpool City Council, creating the largest car parking structure in the city.