Plans to give Londoners and the Mayor a bigger say in the running of the Capital’s eight Royal Parks were set out today by Heritage Minister John Penrose.
Bushy Park, The Green Park, Greenwich Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, The Regent’s Park including Primrose Hill, Richmond Park and St. James’s Park cover around 5,000 acres in London, and celebrate their 160th anniversary of free public access this year.
In a Written Ministerial Statement to Parliament, John Penrose said that he intended to:
- create a new Royal Parks Board to give the Mayor and the people of London a voice in the parks’ management
- give the Mayor power to appoint the Chair and the other members of the of the Board, including representatives of the London boroughs and the Royal household
- direct the Board to develop new processes for giving local communities and park users a role in decision making
The Royal Parks will remain in Crown ownership, under the overall responsibility of the Culture Secretary.
John Penrose said:
“It is right and fair that Londoners have a greater say in how the Royal Parks in their city are run. For too long they have been managed by central government, with MPs from across the UK having the power to micro-manage what they do. It’s time to put this right. Fortunately we won’t need primary legislation to do so and we will shortly be announcing the arrangements we will use to bring it about.”
London Mayor Boris Johnson added:
“London’s 8 Royal Parks are world-class attractions, brimming with historic and horticultural delights. It is vital that these precious assets are managed in a way that balances the interests of all those who enjoy them. We welcome this announcement confirming that Londoners and their elected Mayor will have a far greater and more direct say in how these crown jewels of the capital are run. This process is getting underway in a pragmatic and cost effective way.
“We will now work closely with all concerned to ensure a smooth and collaborative transition of responsibilities.”
Notes to editors
The Written Ministerial Statement.
The Royal Parks is an executive agency of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The Royal Parks are: Bushy Park, The Green Park, Greenwich Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, The Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill, Richmond Park and St James’s Park. The agency also manages Victoria Tower Gardens, Brompton Cemetery, the gardens of 10, 11 and 12 Downing Street, and Grosvenor Square Gardens.
- Hampton Court Park (better known as Home Park) is also technically a Royal Park. It is, however, managed by Historic Royal Palaces and its management is not affected by this announcement.
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