VISITORS at the Royal Bolton Hospital will have to pay more to park on the site.

The shake-up will also see an increase in car parking attendants in a bid to cover the cost of extending parking facilities at the Royal Bolton Hospital.

People parking on visitor car parks will have to pay a single charge of £3 for 24 hours, which will replace the current charges of £2 for up to four hours, £3 for four to six hours and £4 for between six and 24 hours.

The number of short stay spaces will increase from 40 to 58 to include parking in front of N block as well as at Latham car park.

Short stay car parking charges will remain as they are at no charge for 30 minutes and £1 for 30 minutes to an hour.

The Trust currently has one parking attendant but this will go up three, who will have additional duties and be known as facility support officers.

Hospital chiefs say the cost is the same or cheaper than current charges for those who visit the hospital for several hours.

Visitors will only have to pay once if they return to the site on the same day — provided they use the same vehicle as car registrations are printed on the ticket.

Stephen Tyldsley, divisional director of operations for estates and facilities at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We’ve greatly increased the total number of parking spaces at the Royal Bolton Hospital so finding a space is not a problem.

“However this came at a cost and we also need to maintain the car parks, lighting and security.

“We’ve worked hard to find a solution that meets those demands but minimises increases for patients and visitors as much as possible.”

The charges apply to the Bridge, Churchill and Mallet visitor car parks.

In 2012, visitors faced a 60 per cent hike in car parking charges and later that year, hospital staff were also hit with an increase in charges.

The new car parking system was introduced for staff to pay for a £2.6 million loan was taken out by Bolton NHS Foundation Trust to pay for additional spaces.

Car parking has long been a problem at the Royal Bolton Hospital, with several extensions introduced to ease pressures at the busy site.