Council asks Royal Parks to scrap car park fees for Richmond Park

Richmond Council has asked Royal Parks to withdraw its planning applications to install parking meters in Richmond and Bushy parks. The move follows the new Government's intention to overturn the plans to charge visitors for car parking.

The Royal Parks are expected to come under the control of London Mayor Boris Johnson during this Government term after the Conservatives made the change a manifesto pledge before the election (HW 4 June).

Richmond Council leader Nicholas True said: "I have asked officers to contact the Royal Parks to ask them to withdraw these applications. Given the expressed intention of the parties in the new Government to veto the planned charges, it is potentially a significant waste of officer time and political energy to now pursue these applications. If they do not withdraw the applications some might call it a blatant inability or unwillingness to listen to the verdict of local people.

"Our beautiful parks need to be kept natural and free for all to enjoy and must not be urbanised.  In particular the legacy of Messrs Bennett and Lewis of free access to Bushy and Richmond Park should be respected.  If the Royal Parks do not listen to such obvious commonsense, then we will make formal objections as a council.

"I have opposed the idea of charges ever since they were first mooted - and we do not want or need this dismal paraphernalia that go with them."

Both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats had pledged to scrap the plans, which were approved by the last government.

The Royal Parks said it was a Government matter.

A mayor's representative said: "At present the mayor has no jurisdiction over Richmond Park, but his view is that the park is a fantastic historical resource and must be accessible for all Londoners. The mayor would not introduce parking charges during this mayoralty, and would only support such a measure thereafter if it had the backing of Londoners."


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