Anger at Minister's Park Ruling
Responses from Wandsworth Council, Zac Goldsmith & Putney MP Justine Greening
Wandsworth Council leader Edward Lister has condemned Parks Minister Margaret Hodge after she announced that she was approving the introduction of parking charges in Richmond Park.
In the letter announcing her decision, the minister states that people in south west London are rich enough to afford the charges. She dismisses out of hand the argument that charges will deter people on lower incomes from visiting the park – basing her decision on research which suggests that only the rich and wealthy visit the park.
In response Cllr Lister said:
"Mrs Hodge says she has seen the results of the public consultation that the Royal Parks Agency carried out last year. She will know then that a massive 84 per cent of people rejected the notion of charges – not out of self interest - but because people could see that this was a bad idea that would deter those on low incomes, the elderly and families with children struggling with the financial effects of this recession.
"What Mrs Hodge doesn’t want to acknowledge is that most visitors to the park have no choice about taking the car because the public transport options into the park are non-existent. On this issue, the minister has no answers other than to say London Transport should do something about it.
"Similarly she is totally unconcerned about the effect charges will have on adjoining residential areas like Roehampton, which will inevitably suffer overspill parking from drivers seek to avoid the charge.
"The sole justification for her decision seems to be that is that people in this part of London are all rich and so they should be made to pay. If ever there was a case of a minister being detached from reality – this is it."
Putney MP Justine Greening told PutneySW15.com that she is utterly disappointed at the decision and the cost of implementing the charges: