The Royal Parks announced it intends to go ahead with proposals to introduce parking charges in Richmond and Bushy Parks, bringing them in line with its parking policy across the rest of the Royal Parks and with many other similar public amenities.
The decision was made after the results of the public consultation which took place late last year and received more than 12,000 responses.
Andrew Scattergood Chief Executive of The Royal Parks said: “We’ve seen an ever- increasing demand for parking in our limited number of car parks, and this change is needed.
“It helps us manage demand for the car parks, which are currently often full by mid- morning, and will bring much needed revenue for related maintenance into the Royal Parks charity at a time when other income streams have reduced alongside unprecedented use of the parks.
“This will hopefully encourage many to use more sustainable ways to travel to the parks, both of which are designated as sites of special scientific interest, while ensuring that those who need to visit the parks by car can still do so.”
The proposal includes a maximum stay of six hours to ensure a turnover of spaces.
Blue Badge parking and parking for motorcyclists will continue to be free.
The Royal Parks now proposes charging on weekdays between 9am and 4pm, during park opening times, rather than 9am to 6pm as originally outlined.
The fees for both parks will be £1.40 per hour Monday to Friday, and £2.00 per hour at the weekend, to a maximum of six hours on any day.
Charging for car parking aims to encourage sustainable ways to travel to the park while ensuring that those who need to visit the parks by car can still do so. The Royal Parks hopes that this measure will discourage the use of the car parks by those who are not visiting the parks.
Monies raised will be spent on related infrastructure such as road surface maintenance, pedestrian facilities and other projects that aim to help visitors access the park without needing a car.
The introduction of parking charges requires the approval of Parliament. The proposal can only be tabled when the Parliamentary timetable allows, which is unlikely to be in the near future.