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Village Diary

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Keep Bushy Park Free

Sunday 13th September 2020

Keep Bushy Park Free

Protests against the previous attempt to impose charges (2009)

These parking charges will certainly price out some from the Park. The Sunday charge is particularly iniquitous.

You may not be aware that there is a consultation by Royal Parks on the introduction of charges for the car parks in Bushy Park (and Richmond Park). It is not surprising if you have missed this as there is nothing obvious on the Bushy Park website about it. You have to go in to the general Royal Parks website, to “Managing the Parks”, then “Consultations” to find it. The proposed charges are £1.40 per hour Monday to Saturday and £2 per hour on Sundays.

Charges were proposed some years ago but they were rethought after overwhelming objections including from local MPs, all local councils and the vast majority of local residents and park visitors.

The Hampton Wick Association would encourage you to respond to this new consultation with a resounding rejection of this proposal.

It is not just that the charges are excessive and the Sunday charge is particularly iniquitous. Royal Parks suggest that this proposal would bring the two parks in line with other Royal Parks but this ignores the fact that Bushy and Richmond Parks are very different to Regents Park, Hyde Park and Greenwich Park. They are not in the centre of London and they do not have buildings within them that are major tourist attractions. They are used by people to enjoy a walk in a rural type environment and for many, a car is the only practical way of getting there.

The consultation paper also argues that it will discourage the use of the car parks by commuters. But is this really a problem in Bushy Park? Where are they commuting to that is nearby? And can it be argued that charges can be justified because “most authorities surrounding the parks with public parking provision apply charges”? The parks are very different to the surrounding areas, which is why people go to them.

Blue badge holders would be exempt from the charges but there are many people who do not qualify for these yet who would find it arduous walking quite far into the park to, for example, get to the Woodland Gardens.

COVID is leading to high rates of unemployment, particularly in lower paid sectors such as retail and hospitality, and it is now more important than ever to improve general public health and to reduce obesity. Is this really the time for the Royal Parks “Charity” to impose charges on a visit to the park?

If, like us, you disagree with the proposal to introduce parking charges, please take the time to make your views known by responding to the consultation at the Royal Parks website.

You can also submit your views by email to : consultation@royalparks.org.uk, or in writing to:
TRP-Parking Charges, The Old Police House, Hyde Park, London W2 2UH.