PLANS to increase a community hospital’s car park to cope with extra demand have been given the go ahead by council bosses.

Earlier this year, the Tees, Esk and Wear Valley Foundation Trust applied to Durham County Council to improve parking at the Goodall Centre Day Hospital, in Bishop Auckland.

The centre currently provides mental health facilities and serves as a base for social workers forming part of community teams.

Proposals aimed to develop vacant land north of the site into a 41-space car park– boosting the centre’s offer to a total of 76 spaces while retaining two disabled spaces.

A planning statement, submitted by  the applicant, said the car parking plans were linked to an increase in both staff and patients using the site.

This included an increase of staffing from 21 to 53 at the site and the majority of clients and visitors arriving by car.

It read: “Aside from additional staff coming on to the site, the current parking provision is inadequate to cope with the current staffing numbers and is felt that the extension to the car park will reduce the number of off-street parking to the carriageway on Walker Drive.

“It is the Trust’s policy to promote car sharing and the use of public transport, this development also allows for a new cycle shelter to allow staff and visitors to safely store and secure cycles on the site.”

The planning application included fencing, lighting and drainage and vehicular access would continue to be from the exiting car park. It was given the go ahead by Durham County Council planners on Thursday, November 29.