ISSUE: Richmond Park - Agency Plans Withdrawn    

Agency must start again on Richmond Park traffic plans

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Government lawyers acting for the Royal Parks have finally confirmed that the agency has withdrawn its current plans to close Richmond Park's Robin Hood Gate.

The agency has admitted that because of its failure to consult properly the closure plans announced at the end of last year were unlawful.

The climbdown is a complete victory for the council which had issued judicial review proceedings in the High Court.

The council's opposition to the closure is backed by Roehampton residents who fear that shutting off access to the gate will force town-bound commuters to rat-run through Alton Road as a means of avoiding the queues at the junction of Roehampton Lane with Roehampton Vale. This could lead to an extra 700 vehicles an hour in the morning peak period.

The RPA will now launch a fresh consultation exercise. Although this is expected to begin on June 10 and conclude on August 30 the agency has yet to write to the council setting out the details. Following the council's insistence the agency will be forced to consider the views of people who prefer no change to the current arrangements.

The agency will also consult on three other issues - the possibility of introducing road charging in the park, reducing the speed limit to 20mph and closing Pen Ponds car park for a trial 12 month period.

Transport for London, which, despite having responsibility for the A3 Roehampton Vale, had not previously been consulted by the RPA, will now carry out a traffic impact study in the area.

The three local authorities concerned - Wandsworth, Kingston and Richmond - will also be included in the consultation.

Wandsworth Council's cabinet member for regeneration and transport Kathy Tracey said:

"It really would have been better if the agency had been prepared to look at other ways of reducing the environmental impact of traffic using the park. It must be worth seeing just how the 20mph limit works before resorting to drastic measures like closures."

She went on to claim that the agency's admission that they bungled their first attempt means that they must now start the whole process from scratch.

"Last time they simply ignored the heavy weight of opposition to the closure. This time must be different. Local people will expect a thorough and genuine consultation."

Related Links

High Court forces RPA to U turn

Council launches judicial review of Richmond Park gate closure

The RPA puts gate closure on hold until meeting with Council.

Comments from the Forum

Council concerns for residents should Robin Hood Gate be closed.

Change to RPA status fuels concerns over future access to Richmond Park.

Details of the Proposals made by the Friends of Richmond Park

More arguements against closure of the gates

The RPA response to the issue

Peter Duffy argues against the plans for restricting traffic in Richmond Park