Council Blocks Gunnersbury Park Car Park Plan

Says ANPR enforcement scheme 'too obtrusive' for heritage site

Gunnersbury Park car park visualisation from planning documents

An application by the company that manages Gunnersbury Park to put up signs and equipment to start charging for parking has been refused by Hounslow Council.

Consent was being sought for the installation of two electric vehicle charge points, car park signage, two Pay & Display machines, ANPR Camera and associated equipment for the parking area accessed off Popes Lane.

In their decision notice Hounslow Council planners said, “The proposed signage and structures would, owing to their scale, design and prominence appear unduly obtrusive and would cause significant harm to the character and appearance of the Grade I Listed heritage assets in the vicinity and wider parkland and Conservation Area.”

Also the Listed Building consent was not submitted with an associated planning application which rendered it invalid.

The notice says that the Council sought to negotiate improvements to the proposal which were not taken up by the applicant.

The main car park is located to the south of Popes Lane in between Gunnersbury Park Tennis Court and Capel Manor College. This car park consists of approximately 250 parking spaces, including some for blue badge holders. The second car park is located outside the museum and consists of approximately 25 parking bays for blue badge holders only.

The controversial proposals would have seen Gemini Park Solutions, the company given the contract to run the car park, being paid out of Penalty Charge Notices issued to visitors to the park with no management fees being paid.

Popes Lane exit visualisation from planning documents

The car park has, up to now, always been free for park users but the management says this is putting a strain on availability due to commuters using the car park as a free park and ride service. The fitness centre being constructed in the park is expected to generate a significant increase in visitors.

No charges have yet been set for the car park but it is indicated that a level of around £2 a hour will be charged when approval has been given. Blue badge holders will be offered free parking when using one of the facilities on park by validating their stay at on a touch screen device.

A spokesperson for Gunnersbury Park said, “We are disappointed that our proposal to bring in charges to Gunnersbury Park car park has been unsuccessful. We will be re-engaging with the council regarding their decision, and we hope we can soon move forward with this project.

"Introducing charges to Gunnersbury Park car park is a vital step towards supporting the upkeep of Gunnersbury Park & Museum, following the devastating effect on our income from Covid-19 and the fire at the Gunnersbury Park Café. With this planned addition to our revenue we hope to ensure that Gunnersbury survives and thrives.”

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