Councils oppose parking charges

Local authority leaders have lobbied minister for culture and tourism Margaret Hodge to improve transport links to key green spaces following a decision to introduce parking charges in Richmond and Bushy parks.

Earlier this month, Hodge announced that proposed changes to Royal Parks regulations will be implemented later this year. The decision was made despite a consultation that showed 84 per cent of respondents were opposed to the charges.

However, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Kingston and Wandsworth representatives met Hodge last week to push for public transport improvements.

Richmond leader Serge Lourie said: "At the moment, there are very few bus services to Richmond Park gates, and certainly nothing that operates inside it. I'm sure thousands more people would visit and enjoy the park if they could get right into it by bus."

The three leaders had a long-standing appointment on 18 January to meet Hodge to discuss the parking charges proposal and raise concerns over the scheme.

But on 15 January the minister pre-empted the meeting by announcing that she was approving the introduction of charges.

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