Park gate stays shut for good - announces Government Minister

despite its impact on traffic levels in Roehampton.

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Culture minister David Lammy said today that the park's roads should be for park users. He added that the park enjoyed special recognition and it was right that it should take the 'green' obligations that go with it.

However the environmental consequences of the decision spread far beyond the park. Figures from Wandsworth Counci show that the gate's closure has led to a 60 per cent increase in traffic turning into Roehampton Lane from the A3 during the morning rush hour with a hike of 30 per cent in the evening peak.

Bus journey times have also lengthened with operators reporting delays of up to 25 minutes on routes 33, 77 and 265 during the peak hours.

Cabinet member for regeneration and transport Guy Senior said:

"Many residents will regret the apparent failure to take full account of the environmental impact of forcing yet more vehicles onto local roads. People who live in Roehampton and who now have to live with the extra traffic will pay the real environmental price for this decision."

Justine Greening the new MP for Putney has said

"I am extremely disappointed that this decision has been taken and will see to have it overturned as a matter of urgency.  The decision totally disregards the views of the vast majority of constituents who have contacted me both as a parliamentary candidate and now as Member of Parliament to express their real concern at the congestion and road safety issues caused by the Gate closure.

I will be inviting Mr Lammy to come to Roehampton for himself to see the congestion caused daily – of course, that’s if he is able to make it through the traffic jams."

Traffic using the remaining gates during the morning peak fell during the trial by just 2.5 per cent. Some of the road corridors in the park actually experienced an increase in traffic with a 50 per cent rise in vehicles using Kingston Gate.

In the afternoon rush hour, traffic has increased at three of the five other gates although overall traffic through these gates has fallen by 12.6 per cent.

The gate was closed on August 26, 2003 - initially for a period of twelve months. It was opposed by the three councils in the area - Wandsworth, Kingston and Richmond.

May 28, 2005