Controversial parking charges for blue badge holders at St Peter’s Hospital will come into effect on May 1, despite repeated attempts by campaigners to derail the decision.

Board directors at the Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS foundation Trust – which runs the Chertsey hospital – decided to introduce the charges after a review of their travel and car parking policy last month.

Chief executive Suzanne Rankin blamed the financial pressures that the trust was facing when she made the announcement on March 10, adding that the decision "was not taken lightly".

Caroline Williams, from Hersham, set up a petition which already has more than 400 signatures, calling for the hospital to scrap the "immoral" plans.

Ms Williams said: "We're hoping [to reverse the changes] but it does seem it’s a bit of an uphill struggle this time.”

"They’re digging their heels in this time they’re not prepared to meet or talk to you on this issue."

She added: "We are still continuing in lobbying councillors and MPs".

The trust has faced further backlash from their own Disability Group, which is made up of patients and representatives, who “didn’t agree with the decision”.

A minimum parking charge for two hours has also been hiked from £3.20 to £3.50 as part of the move.