A project to build a multi-storey car park at Watford General Hospital has already been delayed.

West Herts Hospitals Trust says it has proven to be a "real challenge" to find a private operator which can design, build, and finance the new car park.

In February, Watford Borough Council approved plans for a seven-storey car park on the former Farm Terrace allotments.

The 1,450 capacity car park would take away the need for visitors to walk up the steep hill to the hospital.

The car park would be funded by a private operator and not by the council or the trust.

But trust board papers have revealed a 'design, build, finance, operate and maintain (DBFOM) option - is "unlikely to be viable" and an alternative option is needed.

A trust spokesperson said: "Creating a new multi-storey car park will help us unlock the site and deliver our planned transformation of Watford General Hospital. We know that the current parking facilities are unsatisfactory, especially for those who are unwell or find the uphill walk to the main buildings a struggle.

"It has proved a real challenge in the current environment to find a design, build and finance solution for the new car park and this has led to a delay. We cannot spend money that is set aside for NHS services on building the new car park. Nor can the car park be paid for by any of the money recently pledged for new and refurbished buildings, which is why we have been seeking a commercial partner to develop and manage the car park.

"We are working very closely with Watford Borough Council and Kier - the developers of the Riverwell regeneration programme - to keep the creation of a new multi-storey car park very much on the top of the agenda.

"Outline planning permission has already been given and we are now working towards a revised start date in 2020. Once underway, the construction should be completed in 12 months."