ISSUE: Richmond Park   - Royal Parks Agency calls off meeting


Council launches judicial review of Richmond Park gate closure

Wandsworth Council has launched an application for judicial review of
the Royal Parks decision to close Richmond Park's Robin Hood Gate.

The council's legal team moved quickly after parks officials called off
a key meeting with the three affected boroughs and Transport for London which was due to be held on March 22.

The council could obtain no assurances on the consequences of the delay from civil servants at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The meeting, which was only fixed last week, would have been the
council's first opportunity to present its case against closure. The
council had warned the Royal Parks that it intended to issue legal
proceedings if its concerns could not be met.

Cabinet member for regeneration and transport Kathy Tracey said the
council had acted swiftly to protect its position:

"We thought we had made progress in getting the Royal Parks to come to the table and discuss the implications of their decision for people in
Roehampton and the adjoining boroughs of Kingston and Richmond.

"In agreeing to the meeting the Royal Parks had undertaken not to go
ahead with the closure planned for April 2.
Now we are told that the meeting cannot go ahead. In the absence of any assurances from the Government we had no choice but to issue legal proceedings.

"We still hope to meet with the agency at the end of April to convince
them that the closure is unnecessary. If they show any sign of going
ahead we will seek an immediate injunction to stop them doing it.

"The council believes the Royal Parks have not thought their plans
through. They have failed to explore other ways of achieving an
equivalent reduction in traffic in the park which would not have such a
calamitous effect on people in Roehampton."

The council's concerns about danger to residents from increased traffic
on Alton Road have been backed by the manager of Thomas Pocklington Court - a home for blind persons.
Centre manager Robert Long said in a letter to the Royal Parks on behalf of 65 blind and partially sighted residents: "With ourselves and Heathmere Primary School opposite, Alton Road has a high level of vulnerable people using and crossing it. Until the issues around using Alton Road as a bypass are addressed I would ask you to reconsider your actions."

Local people 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 at peak times

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


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