Watford General Hospital's new car park is almost ready to open to the public.

The 1,455 space car park over seven floors is currently being trialled with staff and will start welcoming patients and visitors from the end of April.

West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust says the new car park will "significantly improve the parking experience" at the hospital.

Construction of the multi-storey began last year after the trust received £39.2 million Government funding and a topping-out ceremony was held on Monday, attended by Watford mayor Peter Taylor and key people behind the project, to mark the completion.

Watford Observer: left to right: Duncan McDonald, projects director at Kier, Watford mayor Peter Taylor, Fareen Lalani, senior development director at Kier, and Tim Duggleby, associate director of acute redevelopment at West Hertfordshire Hospitals at the new car park left to right: Duncan McDonald, projects director at Kier, Watford mayor Peter Taylor, Fareen Lalani, senior development director at Kier, and Tim Duggleby, associate director of acute redevelopment at West Hertfordshire Hospitals at the new car park

The trust says providing modern, accessible and safe car parking facilities at Watford General is a "long-held goal".

The trust says a pedestrian bridge will make it much "easier" for all car park users to reach the hospital and "avoid the need to walk up the steep hill in the existing car park".

The new car park will provide 72 disabled bays, almost doubling the current offering, and be equipped with lifts and stairs, and provide access to wheelchairs to support those with restricted mobility.

Watford Observer: New multi-storey car park at Watford General Hospital. Credit: West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS TrustNew multi-storey car park at Watford General Hospital. Credit: West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Out of the 1,455 spaces at the multi-storey car park, 1,290 will be for hospital use, with the remaining 165 allocated to the nearby Riverwell development and Watford Football Club.

A total of 78 spaces are being sublet by the club for exclusive use for staff, matchday, and event parking.

The trust says there will be more than 100 electric vehicle charging points.

Parking charges will be in operation at the new car park with payment made upon exiting. Number plate recognition will be in operation.

A company will be operating the car park on behalf of the trust. Further details about charges are expected later this month.

Watford Observer: Inside the new multi-storey car park. Credit: Peter TaylorInside the new multi-storey car park. Credit: Peter Taylor

Around 400 spaces will also be available at Watford General outside of the multi-storey.

This development could be just the start of a major transformation at Watford General. The trust is hoping to secure as much as £1 billion Government funding through the New Hospital Programme to rebuild its hospital buildings on land next to the current hospital.

Watford Observer: A CGI of what a rebuilt Watford General Hospital could look like, shown in grey in the form of three blocks. Credit: BDPA CGI of what a rebuilt Watford General Hospital could look like, shown in grey in the form of three blocks. Credit: BDP

A trust spokesperson said previously: "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."