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Campaigners welcome Government decision to axe parking charges in Richmond Park
The controversial plan to introduce parking charges in Richmond Park has been scrapped by the Government.
Tourism and Heritage Minister John Penrose announced on Monday the Government will now look at different ways of raising money in the park, such as holding events like farmers’ markets.
The news came as a huge relief to campaigners, who have furiously fought the Royal Parks’ unpopular proposals since they emerged 18 months ago.
Wandsworth Council leader Edward Lister said the decision to abandon the charges was “a victory for common sense and a vindication of the stance adopted by the many thousands of people across south West London who opposed this foolish idea”.
He said: “The simple fact is that introducing charges for parking would have deterred many people from visiting Richmond Park, especially those on low incomes.
“The lack of public transport into the park means that most people would have been left with no option but to drive, and so the extra costs would have been borne mainly by pensioners and families with young children.
“Meanwhile adjoining residential areas like Roehampton would have inevitably suffered overspill parking from drivers who didn't want to pay.”
Putney MP Justine Greening met with Mr Penrose last week to reiterate the huge opposition to plans to charge drivers up to £1 an hour for parking.
In January, Ms Greening joined more than 1,000 campaigners for a mass protest rally in Richmond Park.
She said: “I think it’s a real victory for the residents who got involved with a local campaign that made a big difference.”Mr Penrose revealed work on resurfacing Richmond Park’s car parks will also be scrapped, “to retain their rural character”.
He said: “Given the current economic climate, we will need to find alternative sources of income instead, but we will try to respect local residents’ views and preserve the environment of these wonderful and precious spaces too.”