The Royal Parks (TRP) has decided to go ahead with car parking charges in Richmond and Bushy Parks, following its consultation last year.
The charges will be £1.40 per hour from 9 to 4 on Monday to Friday, and £2 per hour from 9 to 6 on Saturday and Sunday. Blue Badge holders and motorcycles will continue to be free. The maximum stay will be 6 hours.
There are two changes from the proposals set out in the consultation - a reduction in the weekday hours from 9-6 to 9-4 and an increase in the charge on Saturdays from £1.40 per hour to £2 per hour. The Friends argued for both changes in our response to the consultation - the first to give some help to regular visitors to the Park and the second because Saturday is as busy as, and sometimes busier than, Sunday.
The consultation received 12,000 responses, with (not surprisingly) 81% of respondents against the charges.
In our view, car parking charges are a reasonable way to tackle car park congestion at week-ends and bank holidays, reduce week-day commuter parking in Kingston Gate and Pembroke Lodge car parks, encourage more non-car travel to the Park and fund the traffic-related infrastructure of the Park. TRP’s announcement says that "Monies raised will be spent on related infrastructure such as road surface maintenance, pedestrian facilities and other projects that aim to help visitors access the park without needing a car” and we think the money from parking charges should be held in a dedicated account for such expenditure in Richmond Park only.
The proposed parking charges require the approval of Parliament (since they are a change to Royal Parks Regulations) and TRP says they "can only be tabled when the Parliamentary timetable allows, which is unlikely to be in the near future”, so it looks as if there will still be free parking this summer.
Here's the announcement from The Royal Parks:
The Royal Parks announced today it intends to proceed with proposals to introduce parking charges in Richmond and Bushy Parks, bringing them in line with its parking policy across the rest of the Royal Parks and with many other similar public amenities.
The decision was made after careful consideration of the results of the public consultation which took place late last year and received more than 12,000 responses.
Andrew Scattergood Chief Executive of The Royal Parks said:
“We’ve seen an ever- increasing demand for parking in our limited number of car parks, and this change is needed."
“It helps us manage demand for the car parks, which are currently often full by mid- morning, and will bring much needed revenue for related maintenance into the Royal Parks charity at a time when other income streams have reduced alongside unprecedented use of the parks.
“This will hopefully encourage many to use more sustainable ways to travel to the parks, both of which are designated as sites of special scientific interest, while ensuring that those who need to visit the parks by car can still do so.”
The proposal includes a maximum stay of six hours to ensure a turnover of spaces.
Blue Badge parking and parking for motorcyclists will continue to be free.
In response to concerns raised in the consultation, The Royal Parks now proposes charging on weekdays between 9am and 4pm, during park opening times, rather than 9am to 6pm as originally outlined.
The fees for both parks will be £1.40 per hour Monday to Friday, and £2.00 per hour at the weekend, to a maximum of six hours on any day.
Charging for car parking aims to encourage visitors to choose more sustainable ways to travel to the park while ensuring that those who need to visit the parks by car can still do so. The Royal Parks hopes that this measure will discourage the use of the car parks by those who are not visiting the parks.
Monies raised will be spent on related infrastructure such as road surface maintenance, pedestrian facilities and other projects that aim to help visitors access the park without needing a car.
The introduction of parking charges requires the approval of Parliament. The proposal can only be tabled when the Parliamentary timetable allows, which is unlikely to be in the near future.