Ministers and MPs debate car parking charges in Richmond Park

Proposals to introduce car parking charges in the Royal Parks' Richmond Park could alienate lower-income families from using the green space, according to local MP Justine Greening.

The Royal Parks' proposals were debated by MPs in the House of Commons yesterday afternoon (17 March).

During the House of Commons debate on Richmond Park, Putney MP Justine Greening (Conservative) argued that by introducing the car parking charges, the green space would become less affordable to low-income families.

"The proposals will discourage families from using the park," explained Justine Greening.

"My concern is that if we are not careful, Richmond Park, the wonderful park on our doorstep, will end up being the preserve of the rich and the middle classes, and lower-income families and the elderly will simply be priced out. That is surely wrong. Surely, for the next generation, we must reduce the barriers to using fantastic parks such as Richmond Park."
Parliamentary under-secretary of state for culture, media and sport Barbara Follett said no final decision has yet been made while the consultation continues: "I would like to make it clear that the parks themselves will still be free.
"The charges would be broadly similar to those levied in other parking areas in the locality and, most importantly, in three other Royal Parks: Greenwich Park, Hyde Park and Regent's Park.
"When we have the responses, the Royal Parks Agency will carefully analyse them all before making recommendations to me. No decisions have been taken, nor will they be until officials and I have had a chance to consider the responses and weigh up the impact."

The consultation closes on 1 May.

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