Richmond Council rethinks parks overnight locking policy

Richmond Council in London has reversed its decision to leave all but one of the borough’s parks unlocked at night.

The council previously locked nine of the borough’s 160 parks and open spaces overnight but from April 1 only York House Gardens was locked after dark.

The move angered park users who petitioned to reverse the decision, which they said they were not consulted about and feared would cause an increase of antisocial behaviour, noise and litter.

The opposition, which included the support of Twickenham MP Vince Cable, forced a rethink and three of the affected parks - Carlisle Park in Hampton, Grove Gardens and Alpha Road Gardens in Teddington – will now be locked.

Cabinet member for environment Councillor Virginia Morris encouraged residents to set up independent friends’ groups for each park and carry out surveys.

She said these would be reviewed along with consultations with park users in the summer, but assured people that until then the parks would remain locked overnight.

She said: "We are always committed to reviewing our policies, based on factual evidence and any antisocial behaviour in our parks.

"However, we also are a listening council and, in this instance, I have heard the concerns of residents and acted accordingly."

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