apologises - but still no information on Richmond Park closures
cabinet minister who announced in a letter written nine days
before the end of consultation on a proposed closure of Richmond
Park's Robin Hood Gate and Pen Ponds car park that both would
go ahead in April 2003 has been forced to issue a second apology.
secretary Tessa Jowell and her officials were forced into
the climbdown after admitting to a catalogue of errors involving
four civil servants and the minister herself. The botched
letter compiled by the four officials was being sent to a
personal acquaintance of Mrs Jowell.
council had threatened a judicial review of her apparent pre-judging
of the outcome of consultation.
feared that the comments signalled a determination by the
Royal Parks Agency to force through the closures despite the
overwhelming opposition from local people and park users.
council's cabinet member for regeneration and transport Kathy
have now had a much fuller explanation of how the minister
came to make such a fundamental error in presenting the closures
as a fait accompli. The
Secretary of State has confirmed that she will take all relevant
matters into account before any decision is made. She has
also assured the council that her decision has not been pre-judged.
many of us still have grave doubts about the willingness of
the RPA to complete their deliberations in anything approaching
an open and transparent way.
three local councils are still awaiting the information promised
by the RPA at our meeting last October.
We have already had to cancel our December meeting because
this was not
ready. One of the key items is the land train proposal which
was being used as justification for closing Pen Ponds car
this there will be little point holding the next Forum meeting
on 12 February. We were also promised details of the arrangements
for analysing and publishing the consultation results.
minister says she still has an open mind - but the obstructiveness
of the RPA officials continues to leave us with real fears
about the way this issue is going to be finally resolved."
Wandsworth Council survey of people in Putney in Roehampton
resulted in a vote of more than 90 per cent against the RPA's
proposal to close Robin Hood Gate with 92.5 per cent against
the closure of Pen Ponds car park.
council has reported these results to the RPA.
closing Richmond Park to rush-hour traffic restoring a priceless local amenity
to its original purpose or are the Royal Parks Agency acting without due consideration
to the majority of local people.
Royal Parks Agency's
on this issue from the forum
Council concerned for residents if Robin
Hood Gate is closed 21.02.02
seek legal advice
to stop closure of Robin Hood Gate 26.02.02
Lister condems plans to close Pen Ponds 13.03.02
Court forces RPA to U turn on Robin Hood Gate closure 17.04.02
Time for the Richmond Park consultation. 02.08.02
shows 90% of residents against gate closure. 10.09.02
Park traffic plans - public
meeting October 1 - 25.09.02
Hood Gate closure plea to Royal Parks as nine
in ten vote against 11.11.02