PATIENTS and staff at a Poole doctors’ surgery have slammed the council for more than doubling charges at a nearby car park.

Borough of Poole (BOP) councillors backed controversial district car park increases, which came into force this month. One of the car parks included - Mansfield Road - is regularly used by patients at the surgery next door.

Patient Ross Macleod, of Poole, said: “It is disappointing to see the council put up short stay charges in this way, especially next to the surgery. It isn’t very supportive of those who rely on medical services regularly.

“Although still not much money, the principle of a 150 per cent increase is beyond cheeky and they can only get away with it because of the low value charges going from 40p per hour to £1.”

Patients using the Parkstone Health Centre, which has its own private car park, normally park in the Mansfield Road council-run surface car park next door.

Another patient, who asked not to be named, said: “I think it is awful that we have to pay more now - it’s pretty obvious there is the GP surgery next door.”

The changes sparked widespread concern, and thousands of people signed petitions calling for the council to abandon the plans.

Before the changes, one hour parking at the Mansfield Road car park cost 40 pence.

But these charges have now risen to £1 for an hour, £1.50 for two hours, and £3.50 for three hours.

Practice manager Natalie McCafferty said the decision would lead to a “horrendous” impact on patients.

“I don’t agree with it at all,” she said.

“We’ve had a lot of complaints about it from patients. For the elderly, it’s really quite horrendous.

“The council seems to think people can just park in the streets if they want to, but they still have to get here.

“It’s not safe for patients to be dropped off directly outside either.”

Annual season ticket holders for Poole’s district car parks also saw their £225 tickets rise to £500.

Defending the rises earlier this year, Cllr Drew Mellor, cabinet member for transportation, said they were “significantly” below the national average.