Call to withdraw Royal parks parking charges plan

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Richmond Council has called on the Royal Parks to withdraw its planning applications to install parking meters in Richmond and Bushy parks.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said it intends to transfer Royal Parks management to London's mayor.

The mayor's office has said it would not introduce parking charges in the two south London parks during during this Mayoralty.

The proposed fees would see drivers paying between 50p and £3 a day.

A spokesperson for Boris Johnson said: "At present the mayor has no jurisdiction over Royal Parks, but his view is that they are fantastic historical resources and must be accessible for all Londoners.

"The mayor would not introduce parking charges during this Mayoralty, and would only support such a measure thereafter if it had the backing of Londoners."

'Blatant inability'

Margaret Hodge, the former culture minister under the Labour government, gave the go-ahead for new parking charges in the two Royal Parks in January.

But a Department for Culture, Media and Sport spokesman said: "The government hopes to make the transfer of the parks to the Greater London Authority at the next available opportunity.

"However, this would require an act of parliament to take place, which could be a couple of years away."

Nicholas True, Leader of Richmond Council, said: "Given the expressed intention of the parties in the new Government to veto the planned charges, it is potentially a significant waste of officer time and political energy to now pursue these applications.

"If they do not withdraw the applications some might call it a blatant inability or unwillingness to listen to the verdict of local people."

The Royal Parks declined to comment.

Other Royal Parks in London, such as Greenwich and Hyde Park, already charge for parking.

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