HyPER attended the 6-monthly Royal Parks stakeholder meeting on Thursday 2nd November.
The meeting started with an update from the Chief Executive, Andrew Scattergood, who reiterated the 3 strategic priorities of the Royal Parks: to welcome everyone to the parks; to conserve and enhance the parks; and to build a secure financial future.
HyPER asked how the first objective of welcoming everyone is monitored and implemented within decision making. We were informed of the Royal Parks Panel, which engages with regular users of the Parks to gain their feedback over a period of time. If you would like to be join the panel please register on the Royal Parks website.
Hyde Park update
This was followed by an update from Jason Taylor, the manage of Hyde Park. Jason gave a quick canter through the many recent goings-on in Hyde Park, including:
- Due to H&S reasons, there is currently no gun salute taking place in Hyde Park. It is hoped this will return next year.
- Swim Serpentine was very nearly cancelled due to blue algae, but fortunately went ahead and was very successful.
- The Half Marathon went ahead with a new delivery partner, which was deemed to be a great success.
- The British Summer Time concerts were very popular, with every event either sold out or very nearly sold out.
- Winter Wonderland opens this month on the 17th November. The associated barriers (as per last year) will be installed on 15th November.
- The lido toilets have now been refurbished.
- New noticeboards are in the process of being installed, and should be completed in the next couple of months.
- Designs are currently being developed for the junction of South Carriage Drive and Park Lane. Having studied the options available, it is considered that South Carriage Drive may need to be closed permanently due to the capacity and conflict constraints of that corner. However, no permanent decision will be made until consultation.
Kensington Gardens update
Andy Williams, the manager of Kensington Gardens, gave an excellent update on the other side of the parks. We heard about the great work that volunteer groups are doing in the park, in particular the Conservation Volunteers that meet on the first Friday of each month.
Some maintenance has been undertaken within the Princess Diana playground. A complete revamp of the pirate ship is planned next and the work for this is now out for tender. The work will require a closure of the playground and is likely to be undertaken in 2024/2025.
A brief update on forthcoming events was given, with Winter Wonderland being the next major event. The Winter Wishes programme for local schools is being run this year to provide access for local school children.
The Hyde Park Police gave an update on policing within the parks. The last 6 months have seen a drop in reported incidents (282 down from 307 in the same period last year), including robbery which has dropped from 35 to 28 incidents in Hyde Park and 16 to 7 in Kensington Gardens. Assaults and GBH have dropped from 62 to 35 across both parks.
A number of successful undercover operations have been performed which have helped with this reduction.