HyPER attended the Royal Parks stakeholder update on Tuesday 23rd May.
The meeting was a useful opportunity to hear many updates about what is happening across the Royal Parks and there was a huge amount of information imparted. What follows is a brief summary of what might be of interest to HyPER members.
The meeting started with an update from the Chief Executive, Andrew Scattergood. Andrew reinforced the 3 key strategies of the Royal Parks, which are to welcome everyone to the parks; to conserve and enhance the parks; and to build a secure financial future. He also gave an overview of major investments, which are mainly taking place at parks other than Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens such as Greenwich Park and Richmond Park.
As part of his update, Andrew confirmed that South Carriage Drive will soon be reopened to motor traffic during the week (Monday to Friday). This will take place as soon as the exact future of Park Lane is known, although South Carriage Drive will be reopened regardless of TfL’s decision on Park Lane. Andrew also confirmed that the long-term strategy is to have no through-traffic in Hyde Park, but that there are no planned dates for when any further implementation of this will take place.
Park management update
Updates were then provided by Phil Newcombe (Hyde Park assistant manager) and Andy Williams (Kensington Gardens manager). They both gave an excellent overview of the events and projects that are being undertaken in both parks. There is a lot of work going on to keep the parks in good shape, including refurbishment of memorials and fountains, refurbishment of the Lido toilets, new noticeboards, new planting (particularly at the Italian Gardens), restoration of a historic tree walk on Buck Hill, planting of new disease resistant trees, upgrades to the Diana Memorial playground, new “interpretation” boards providing information around the parks, and many other repairs.
A Flying Trapeze School will be opening in Kensington Gardens on 26th May. Anyone can attend and learn to fly in one of the classes. The youngest students are 8, the oldest (so far) 78! Students start with a warm up then move on to practice a simple trick on our low bar.
Events and road closures
Updates from operations and events managers followed. This year there are 9 British Summer Time concerts planned across 3 weekends (7 of these are already sold out). Sound disturbance to local residents will be kept to the minimum possible, with sound checks taking place the day before each concert and between 10am and midday on the day of each event.
For safety reasons, Park Lane will be closed after each concert ends (from approximately 10pm for one hour). Within the parks, all roads will be closed from 11am. In addition, Stanhope Place will be closed to pedestrians and vehicles from approximately 9:50pm until 11pm each concert day. This is to prevent large numbers of concert attendees walking through Connaught Square. Construction of the concert site will take place from 5th June. Concert dates when the road closures take place are as follows:
- Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th June
- Friday 30th June, Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd July
- Thursday 6th, Friday 7th, Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th July
New retail facility
Finally, we had updates about a new retail venture by the Royal Parks. This is to provide additional diversity in funding revenues. A new shop will be opened in the boat house on Serpentine Road, selling a broad range of Royal Parks and related merchandise. The shop is currently recruiting staff, which as well as full-time staff will also include part-time work and zero hours options suitable for students in the summer. The shop will be open from 10am to 8pm in the summer, with reduced hours in the winter.