"DAYLIGHT robbery" is how an unhappy Evesham resident described a significant hike in charges in Evesham Community Hospital's car park.

Penny Jones, of Woodland Piece in Evesham, said she was shocked at the "ridiculously expensive" prices introduced into the car park on Tuesday.

The new charges, which the Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust say are more in line with charges in other hospital and local authority car parks, mean the cost of parking at the hospital goes from 50 pence an hour to £2.50 for anyone in the car park between 20 minutes and two hours, with the first 20 minutes free.

After that the cost is £3.50 for up to four hours and £4 thereafter.

Mrs Jones, who owns Cartridge World in Merstow Green with her husband, discovered the changes on Monday, the day before they came into effect, while taking her daughter to the hospital.

"Before it was 50 pence an hour," she said. "Now it's free for 20 minutes but who does anything at the hospital in 20 minutes? 50 pence for an hour was fine. Even a £1 for an hour would be fine.

"Basically anyone that goes there is going to have to pay £2.50. It seems ridiculously expensive. It's not like there is a lot of places for people to park so if you are elderly or ill you don't want to walk from Waterside."

And Mrs Jones said she was not alone after speaking to other people in the car park who were also shocked.

"The other people I saw were as horrified as I was. We were talking in the shop about how long you would be in the hospital if you go for an appointment. You are not going there for more than an hour.

"It's really annoyed me there is no option for an hour. If you are there for half an hour it is £2.50. It's blatant day light robbery for parking in the car park."

A spokesperson for Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust said: "The new charges come into effect from April 1. The changes follow a review of our charges compared with those at the Worcestershire Acute hospital sites and local authority car parks."