Anger as Plymouth workers face massive parking increase

The John Bull Building at Plymouth's Tamar Science Park
-Credit: (Image: Lucy Davies)


Dozens of Plymouth workers are furious after being told the cost of parking will skyrocket by 440% in a bid to encourage them to walk, cycle or catch the bus to work. Staff at the University of Plymouth’s Derriford medical campus have been told their monthly parking charge will jump from £12.50 to £67.50 a month for most workers from August - and then to £85 in a year’s time.

About 150 staff are affected at the John Bull Building and Derriford Research Facility, with a smaller price hike for employees at the Emdeck building, at Pennycomequick, too. Workers affected include cleaners and kitchen staff, in addition to academics. One worker told PlymouthLive: “We are angry and feel demoralised and under-valued.”

The university has declined to comment on the price rises, but PlymouthLive has learned part of the reason is to support the university’s commitment to sustainability. The institution’s Green Travel Plan encourages staff to walk, cycle and use public transport and the parking hike takes into account the costs of parking and bus travel in Plymouth, with the cheapest bus pass costing £92 a month.

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It is also understood the university is keen to even out the cost of parking at its various campus car parks. It recently reviewed charges and found staff at Derriford were paying much less than those in the city centre.

The university has approved a proposal to standardise parking fees, with all of them being £85 a month by August 2025. Motorists parking in the Robbins, Gilwell and Cookworthy car parks, in the city centre, will see only a £5 rise, as they are already paying £80 a month, and at Emdeck it will rise from £50.

But even the university has admitted the staff at the Derriford campus - which trains medics, dentists and radiographers - will see a huge hike in costs. Even the highest paid staff at the Derriford campus, about 50 academics, will see their permits rise from £25 to £67.50 and then £85.

But one staff member stressed most of the staff affected were on lower wages. The person said: “There are workers on a living wage salary. It will affect most of the staff that are the lowest paid.”

The staff member stressed that there are cheaper alternatives for car parking in the city centre, with Western Approach’s monthly season ticket costing £55 for example. But it is a different story at Derriford, with the person saying the George Junction park-and-ride site is often full and buses to Derriford are regularly packed with passengers.

Workers have started a petition on the Change.org website, already gaining more than 200 signatures. One worker said: “We are not opposed to an increase, if it was, say, double or in line with inflation, but are opposed to a higher increase and no consultation period.”

Staff have complained of a lack of consultation and said they only found out in late May and now have until Friday, June 28, to apply for their new parking passes, with the cost coming directly from their wages. A staff member said an informal grievance had been submitted and the union Unison was working on submitting a collective grievance to bosses at the university.

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