Councillors have trashed plans for a congestion charge in Cambridge, saying it will discriminate against hospital users and branding it a tax on people who are ill.

Uttlesford District Council voted to object to Greater Cambridge Partnership’s plans, which would see drivers charged £5 between 7am and 7pm on weekdays, at a meeting on December 6. 

CEO Peter Holt will write to the partnership asking for the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, home to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Royal Papworth Hospital and the Rosie Maternity Hospital, to be excluded from the proposed Sustainable Travel Zone.

Councillor Maggie Sutton (Residents for Uttlesford, Takeley) proposed the motion, which will see the council express "serious concern" about the financial impact and stress of the proposals on patients, carers, visitors and staff from Uttlesford.

She told the meeting: "I took someone to Addenbrooke's Hospital using the park and ride, but after the first long day of chemo and the effort of getting back to the bus station, he simply couldn’t do it again so from that day on we drove.

"We parked at the hospital and he collapsed in sheer relief every night on the way home.

"I do not think people who are sick and must attend should be discriminated against, to feel that there has to be another process, another hurdle to negotiate, another form to fill in to be assessed, being made to feel different to everybody else."

Councillor Neil Hargreaves (RfU, Newport) said there were no air quality issues in the centre of Cambridge, and that the charge is an attempt to reduce congestion. 

But the route from the M11 motorway to the south means people from Uttlesford visiting the hospital do not contribute to congestion in the city centre.

He said: "There’s an awful lot wrong with this, but the key thing effectively is the tax on people being ill, who do not wish to go to Addenbrookes because you don’t go there for fun, you go because you have to."

Greater Cambridge Partnership is currently running a consultation on the proposals, due to close at midday on December 23.

As currently proposed, there would be some exceptions to the charge, including for those using A&E.

But according to the motion there are no exceptions for general hospital attendances, friends or relatives and for those who work there. 

Low income discounts are proposed but would be means tested and exemptions on medical grounds would require assessment.