Petersham Road will be closed between Star & Garter and Water Lane/Ham Polo Club from Monday 1 August until Sunday 4h September to replace the gas main. Traffic will be diverted through Richmond Park during Park opening times only, entering at Ham Gate and leaving at Richmond Gate.
Some of our members will remember a similar situation for 18 months in 1979-81 due to subsidence in Petersham Rd. You can read about the ‘Petersham Hole’ on Wikipedia. As it says, the Park remained open all night at the start and then was closed from only midnight to 6 am. By the end of the eighteen months 84 deer had been killed by the increased traffic. Read more about it in the following extract from the Friends 50th anniversary history:
Subsidence in Petersham Road
At the end of the decade Richmond Park came under enormous pressure. In 1979,
the main road at Petersham subsided, resulting in cars and motorcycles being
diverted into the Park. The gates remained open 24 hours a day and casualties to deer
caused by speeding vehicles increased. Gerald Jameson-Green appeared on a
special BBC Panorama programme to emphasise the threat to deer in the Park
caused by the diversion of traffic.
At the same time, the Friends protested strongly against the idea, revived from the
early 1970s, of building a tunnel under the Park giving a by-pass from the Park gates at
Richmond Hill to Ham Common at the cost of scarring the landscape above.
A second incident of subsidence in Petersham occurred just two months later,
with the Park again being open all night to aid traffic flow. There was great concern
that the Park was virtually split in two by the diversion of main road traffic through it.
Problems existed for animals and humans trying to cross the frontier delineated by the
Kingston Gate to Richmond Gate road, which was heavy with vehicles. Temporary
traffic lights were installed to aid crossing outside Pembroke Lodge. The road itself
was in danger of breaking up because of the extra strain.
A special resolution was called at the AGM to close Park roads from midnight to 6am, to
facilitate movement of deer and other animal life, and to ease pressure on the Park
security staff. This was supported by the Department of the Environment which
promptly instigated the closure. By November 1979 39 deer had been killed in
traffic accidents, which rose to 47 by the end of December. Almost ten deer a month
had been killed since cars started being diverted through the Park.