Situated in South West London, Bushy Park and Richmond Park are large deer parks which make up two of the royal parks to be found in London.
People travel from all over London and the surrounding areas to visit both Bushy Park and Richmond Park, many of them by car. Consequently, car parking is available in the park itself, historically free of charge.
In autumn 2020 The Royal Parks launched a public consultation to introduce parking charges in both Bushy and Richmond Parks.
They argued that the money raised from the charges will help manage demand for parking, increasingly an issue for the ever-popular parks. They also explained that charges would incentivise park users to use more sustainable modes of transport to reach the parks.
The Royal Parks explained that the money raised from parking charges would be used to invest in the existing park infrastructure and projects to encourage park visits other than by car.
The consultation responses revealed that there was considerable opposition from users of both Bushy Park and Richmond Park to the introduction of parking charges. 81.27% of those responding to the consultation were in opposition. An online petition against the proposals also attracted around 2,500 signatures.
Despite this, in March 2021, The Royal Parks confirmed its proposals to charge for parking. Announcing the change, 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”.
However, this one looks set to run given that the introduction of parking charges requires the approval of Parliament. It is unlikely a vote will be held anytime soon, and it is far from certain that the the measure will be passed. A previous attempt in 2010 to introduce parking charges failed after being opposed by the Conservatives. Hinting at a similar outcome being most likely.
By Oliver Phillips