The Molesey Residents Association is a non-party political organisation which aims to protect and enhance the amenities and the environment of East and West Molesey.

Consultation on Amending the Royal Parks Regulations

Letter from MRA Councillor Mike Axton to The Royal Parks.

Dear Sir

Consultation on Amending the Royal Parks Regulations

I am submitting comments to the consultation on changes to the Royal Parks Regulations on behalf of the Molesey Residents Association (MRA). The MRA is a major local organisation representing the residents of Molesey, and holds all 9 Molesey seats on Elmbridge Borough Council, and the West Molesey seat on Surrey County Council.

Our principal concern is the proposal to introduce car park charges for visitors to Bushy Park, and we would urge the Royal Parks not to proceed with this. Bushy Park is not within easy walking distance of any railway station, and the park is only accessible for many visitors by car. Most people who currently use the car parks go on to walk in the park, or use the children’s play area, and they will generally need to pay the full £2 charge for each visit. This will have a disproportionate impact on regular visitors to the park, who will generally live within a 4 to 5 mile radius, and will clearly include the residents of East and West Molesey.

Many local parents and grandparents take their children to the park on a regular basis, giving them fresh air and exercise, something the Royal Parks should be actively encouraging. In addition, regular exercise classes for mothers with young children are held in the Park. A charge of £2 per visit will clearly act as a disincentive for regular users, particularly less affluent residents.

We also believe that the introduction of parking machines and the accompanying enforcement activity will fundamentally change the peaceful rural setting of the Park. Bushy Park is also regularly used for guided walks and nature talks by, among others, the Friends of Bushy Park and the RSPB – again activities which should be encouraged as a healthy recreational activity. The scale of these charges would represent a significant tax on such activities.

I also have concerns about the proposed reduction in the speed limit to 20 mph. The rationale for this is not explained, and as far as I am aware there is no evidence of difficulties with the current limit. There is a risk that the lower limit could actually increase the risk of accidents, as drivers focus on their speedometer, rather than the road ahead, and we would ask you to reconsider this.

Yours Sincerely

Mike Axton