THE struggle to find free parking near Mount Druitt Hospital just got harder.
Until now, hospital visitors could avoid fees by parking in Shopsmart Mount Druitt car park, a short walk away.
There is now a fence around the rear of the car park to stop people from using it as a short cut to get to the hospital.
Hospital staff said Shopsmart installed the fence because of security concerns.
Readers flooded the Star's Facebook page with comments.
"My baby is very ill, so we are in Emergency fairly often," Hayley Hawkins posted.
"We would not be able to afford the hospital parking fees with the number of times we have to present there.
"I know a lot of others with children in the same situation who are now calling ambulances for a ride there to avoid the fees.
"Walking a long distance in the dark through Mount Druitt with a sick baby is not safe."
Disabled people who play sport at nearby Kevin Betts Stadium are also affected.
"It has made it difficult for access to Kevin Betts sports stadium when there are football games played at the adjacent ovals," Kevin Wilson posted.
"The spectators for those games use the stadium car park and the disabled guys could park in Shopsmart for access," Kevin Wilson said.
Shaunna added: "What about locals who need the area as a thoroughfare because they live in Rooty Hill and walk to the shops because they don't have cars, or students who need a walking thoroughfare?"
But some understood why the fence was installed.
"I work in the complex. People were parking there for reasons other than shopping, making businesses suffer," Corinne Hudson wrote. "Signs were put up and people still parked there so next best thing was a fence."
Katrina Griffiths added: "How many people had their cars broken into there? Or were robbed? Yes it's convenient but it was not very safe, especially at night."
Shopsmart had not commented by press time.
Your voice: stmarysstar.com.au.