Parking charges at Gunnersbury Park are set to be approved following a recommendation from a LB Hounslow planning officers.
If approved by councillors, the proposals will mean the installation of electric vehicle charge point, car park signs, pay and display machines, automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras and associated equipment to the parking areas of the Gunnersbury Park Museum.
In a 2019 statement, Gunnersbury Park stated their intentions to hire and external company to manage the car parks, but they made no mention of ANPR cameras until filing the planning application. The first application was rejected on the grounds that the signs and equipment were too large and detracted from the heritage site.
The planning officer for the current application, Leo Hall, has concluded that the cameras would cause no undue impact on the character and appearance of the listed buildings or conservation area.
The Friends of Gunnersbury Park and Museum objected to the application. Whilst accepting the CIC was in need of extra revenue, this should not override other concerns, they said.
The group said in its newsletter to members:
“Had the CIC more fully engaged in the planning process, the refusals and subsequent delays might have been avoided and prevented a significant loss of income.”
Image above: Gunnersbury Park Sports Hub (Photo by Matt Smith)
‘We need to charge users for the service we provide’ says Gunnersbury Park
The proposals to introduce parking charges go as far back as 2019. Originally, parking charges were meant to be implemented in line with the opening of Gunnersbury Park Sports Hub in 2020 to help manage the inevitable spike of traffic into the park.
The opening of the Sports Hub was delayed by Covid and only opened in 2021. Gunnersbury Park has also suffered a number of financial setbacks over the last couple of years, including the fire in Gunnersbury Park Cafe and the financial impact of the pandemic.
A spokesperson for Gunnersbury Park referred to a 2019 statement on why the parking charges were needed:
‘We, Gunnersbury Estate (2026) CIC – the not for profit organisation that manages Gunnersbury Park and Museum – are responsible for maintaining the car parks, which is a very expensive task. To do this, we need to charge users for the service we provide.
‘We currently receive funding each year from Ealing and Hounslow councils (who ultimately own the estate). However, this is currently not enough to fund the entire estate and it is also set to decline substantially over the coming years meaning further funding sources are required to maintain and improve the park, museum and its services. All revenue raised from car parking charges – as with all income generated by the CIC – would be ringfenced to be spent only at Gunnersbury Park and Museum.
‘In addition, charging for car parking and pro-actively managing the use of the car parks will mean that we can ensure that the facility is available to visitors to the estate and spaces are not taken up by commuters or unlicensed commercial users.’
All revenue from parking charges will go to Gunnersbury CIC, which manages the park, but Gemini Park Solutions keeping the revenue from fines. Gemini Park Solutions is a member of the British Parking Association and run a number of other ANPR parking facilities across the country.
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