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Chair’s Welcome

I am delighted as Chair of the Friends to welcome you to our website. Bushy Park and Home Park are two wonderful large green oases in the south west corner of London. Feeling wild, they are natural places with ancient histories, fascinating heritage and superb wildlife. Both are Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) containing rare species. These are places to be enjoyed and conserved. Which is why the Friends exist, campaigning, supporting and protecting the parks, and enhancing visitors’ enjoyment with information, advice and guidance.

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Chairman’s Winter Report - 2010/2011

A very Happy New Year to all the Friends, and a special year it is as it is our 21st anniversary. We were founded in 1990 to protect Chestnut Avenue from being chopped down by the previous management.

In the last Friends newsletter I mentioned that there were to be changes in the management structure of the Royal Parks of which Bushy is one. (Home Park is managed by Historic Royal Palaces). The DCMS (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) to whom the Royal Parks currently report are preparing to devolve power to the Mayor of London’s office. The details of the transfer are still not clear. Together with the Friends of Richmond Park, FBHP along with thirty six other local groups have devised a seven point plan that we think will deliver effective and sustainable governance and funding of the Parks under the Mayor, and ensure that its management is accountable to local and national needs. Our 7 points should be included in primary or secondary legislation or in a binding agreement between central government and the Mayor similar to the Framework Agreement between government and the current Royal Parks agency when it was created in 1993.

In September FBHP together with The Friends of Richmond Park and the other groups set up The Richmond and Bushy Parks Forum to discuss and provide input to the transfer of The Royal Parks to the Mayor of London’s office. It met for the third time last week and adopted the 7 Point programme which has been sent to John Penrose, Minister for Tourism and Heritage at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. We have circulated it to MPs, members of the Lords, councillors, other Friends etc., Mark Camley, Chief Executive of Royal Parks has received a copy as have TRP Board members.

The Localism Bill, published last week, did not include the transfer, but we understand that the government might introduce the transfer as an amendment to the Bill at the Second Reading, which is now scheduled to start on January 17. If that is the case, we need to start lobbying as soon as the holidays are over!

Here are the seven points, with accompanying notes as agreed by the 38 local organisations:

  1. The 8 Royal Parks should be kept together
    Bushy Park should include the Longford River
  2. TRP should be kept as a single, semi-independent entity and retain its own management support functions, such as property management, commercial, marketing, finance, HR, IT
    Individual parks should keep their own management teams
    Current Park Managers should be retained
  3. There should be a central TRP Board, with executive powers
    The Board should include representatives from local Boards, and external experts in ecology, historic buildings/landscape and managing large parks
    Its executive powers should include approval of TRP’s strategy, policies, budget, main spending programmes and significant new initiatives
  4. There should be local statutory consultative Boards for each Park or group of Parks
    Richmond and Bushy could have a combined Board
    Local Boards should include representatives from local councils, local user, wildlife, friends, amenity and conservation groups, concessionaires, park management and outside expertise (e.g. for RP/BP in managing SSSI/NNRs)
    TRP/MoL should have a statutory duty to consult local Boards on all matters
  5. There should be specific commitments to environmental protection.
    A commitment to get SSSI status for Bushy Park, with funds allocated.
    No further cuts in maintenance of green spaces within the Royal Parks
  6. There should be protection against further significant commercialisation
    No concerts, new sports pitches, intensive sports or national events in RP/BP
    Revenue raising only from options with low environmental impact
  7. Central government funding and commercial income should be ring-fenced, i.e. only able to be spent on the Parks
    It should include a programme and resources for reducing the £56 million maintenance backlog

Notes to these points

Letter sent by the Forum John Penrose M.P.

RICHMOND AND BUSHY PARKS FORUM MEMBERS – December 2010

Pieter Morpurgo, Chairman. January 2011.

Walks & Talks

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Latest report

A perimeter walk of Home Park led by Nicholas Garbutt was enjoyed by over 45 people on 2nd September.Walk in Home Park- 2nd September

Full report...