The Galleries shopping centre is owned by a LaSalle separate account client, and LaSalle’s Asset Management team is actively involved in running the facility. It sits in the heart of Bristol, a short walk from one of the city’s major hospitals – the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI).
At the very start of the Covid-19 pandemic, one of the centre’s lettings agents mentioned that his wife worked for the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), and the team discussed what intense pressure NHS staff were under. Following that conversation, LaSalle’s Asset Management team, in consultation with our client, made the quick decision to offer free parking to NHS staff to help support them during exceptionally difficult times. The free parking offer started in April 2020 and ran until the end of November 2021.
During the peak of the pandemic, an average of 300 NHS staff per day took up the free parking offer, which normally would have cost £18 per car per day (or £5,400 per day). Over the 19 months the free parking was offered, nearly £3 million in free parking was claimed by NHS staff.
To continue the centre’s support for the BRI and the NHS, The Galleries has been able to offer discounted parking to 200 NHS staff from the BRI for the foreseeable future (£6 per day rather than £18 per day).
The Galleries is also working in partnership with the NHS to create new and different spaces within the city centre. The NHS has taken two leases for vacant units at The Galleries: one is being used for additional storage space and another is currently being fitted for a remote eye hospital to assist with reducing the Covid-19 related backlog of appointments.
LaSalle is proud to have been able to offer its support not only to NHS staff in Bristol, but to healthcare workers around the world in a variety of ways. While our assets are financial investments for a wide range of stakeholders, we also understand the vital role that they play in supporting communities, and we take great satisfaction in knowing that they have done so.
The local NHS/BRI team were extremely happy and pleasantly surprised by the offer of free parking from The Galleries during the pandemic and made working throughout the busy period of the lockdowns and pandemic slightly easier; then offering discounted parking for up to 200 BRI staff from December 2021 has been very well received.– Dave Wilson, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust
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