ISSUE: Richmond Park                               


Wandsworth Council's regeneration and transport chairman Kathy Tracey is calling for government assurances that changes to the status of the Royal Parks Agency will not be used to introduce a ban on cars using Richmond Park.

The Government has announced its intention to turn the Royal Parks Agency, which manages Richmond Park, into a non-departmental public body (NDPB) to be run by a quango of non-elected trustees appointed by Whitehall. These changes were announced on July 20 by Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell in a written parliamentary answer on the day the House of Commons broke for its summer recess.

Now Cllr Tracey is calling on the Secretary of State to give more information on who will be appointed to the new quango.

And she has also asked for cast iron assurances that the quango will not attempt to ban cars from using Richmond Park without full public consultation.

She said: "Last year the Royal Parks Agency tried to steamroll through plans for what was essentially a total ban on cars using Richmond Park. They tried to do this without any meaningful public consultation, and indeed were prepared to take the decision before anyone who lived in the area even knew about it.

"They were prepared to take this rash decision with the support of one or two pressure groups, who claim to be representative of local feeling, but who in fact represent only a very narrow viewpoint. These pressure groups certainly do not speak for the very many people whose lives would be adversely affected if traffic was banned from the park and forced onto already congested local roads in the three boroughs that adjoin the park.

"I am extremely concerned that the new quango - whose members will be handpicked by ministers on the advice of the RPA, will be packed with people from those same pressure groups who have totally closed minds on this issue and have proved unwilling in the past to take on board the views of those who disagree with them.

"I hope that this change in the structure and status of the RPA is not being used by ministers so they can escape criticism for making a deeply unpopular decision like banning cars from the 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









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