Two more hospitals to charge for parking
Car parking charges are set to be introduced at Ards Hospital.
Work has started in the grounds of the hospital in the centre of Newtownards on barriers to impose charges.
It is understood that the rate for parking will be charged at £1 an hour, although patients will be able to park for free for the first 30 minutes at the adjoining Old Mill GP surgery.
The introduction of parking fees is part of a plan by the South Eastern Health Trust, who introduced charges for parking at the Ulster Hospital in 2013, and at Lagan Valley Hospital in 2015.
Parking charges are also believed to be "imminent" at Downe Hospital in Downpatrick.
A spokeswoman for the South Eastern Health Trust said while initial work is being carried out, there is no date yet for the introduction of parking barriers.
Strangford MP Jim Shannon said it was important that the parking charges are kept at a reasonable level.
"I have had many complaints about the state of that car park.
"First of all the surface is not finished, and then the fact that cars park all over the place, sometimes even behind other cars," he said.
"I had written to the Trust to ask for improvements, so I am not all that surprised they are going to introduce charging for parking.
"However, it is very important that the charging be kept at a low level because, after all, it is possible to park in Newtownards town for four hours for just a pound."