Plans have been submitted to build a multi-storey car park at Dorset County Hospital.

The move is part of plans to develop and expand clinical facilities on the Dorchester site.

The hospital wants to expand its Emergency Department and Intensive Care Unit as well as establish an Integrated Care Hub as part of Dorset’s Clinical Services Review.

In order to free up land, the hospital is proposing to build a multi-storey car park to improve parking for patients, visitors and staff.

If approved, the car park would be built at the south-east corner of the hospital site, at the Williams Avenue and Damers Road junction.

The hospital also wants to develop the land it owns on the site of the former Damers School and the current Trust Headquarters to raise income to contribute to the cost of the clinical facilities' building work.

The future development of the Damers/Trust HQ land could include a mix of health and care related facilities and housing.

A consultation event on the plans was held in the summer.

Director of Strategy, Transformation and Partnerships at DCH Nick Johnson said: “We really appreciate people taking the time to find out more about our plans and to give us their valuable feedback. We have since further developed our plans for the multi-storey to take this on board.

“We were heartened to receive a lot of positive feedback about the plans to expand our clinical facilities. There was also a lot of support for developing affordable housing and improving car parking facilities for patients, visitors and staff."

Mr Johnson added: “The main concern raised was the visual impact of the multi-storey, particularly for people living in Damers Road. We have now developed a design to incorporate some innovative green walls so vegetation will grow on the building to help soften the look of it. We have also changed the plans to remove an area of parking on the southern edge of the multi-storey so that the building is further away from Damers Road and we can retain a greater number of existing trees to help with screening.”

Building the multi-storey is the first phase of the hospital’s longer-term plans to develop the site.

Mr Johnson said: “Our Emergency Department now deals with twice as many patients as it was originally designed to cope with. Demand is only going to rise in the future so we need to expand and redesign the department to make it fit for purpose.

“Similarly, our Intensive Care Unit needs to be expanded so we can cope with the increased demand and provide care in the best environment possible."