(P.172) The Sunday Telegraph, 18 July 2010 (Mandrake)
by Richard Eden


The Queen steps in to protect her park keepers

ALWAYS CONCERNED for the welfare of her staff, the Queen has intervened to prevent the Royal Parks being broken up.
At least two London councils had sought to win control of green spaces within their boroughs after plans were announced earlier this year to transfer control of the Royal Parks agency from the Government to the Greater London Authority (GLA).
However, Mandrake can disclose that council leaders were informed by Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, last week that the plans had been shelved.
When I approach Brian Coleman, a leading Conservative member of the GLA, he confirms that the monarch's intervention was decisive. "I can sympathise with the Queen," he says. "Perhaps we should take Her Majesty's advice on local issues more often, as it seems eminently sensible.

The Queen - protects park keepers

The Queen has helped to ensure that the Royal Parks, which includes Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, will not be broken up.



"Her concern was, simply. for the long-term future of the parks' employees, many of whom she knows personally."
Johnson had announced plans to take responsibility for the parks last month in response to the Lib Dem/Conservative Coalition's decision to dismantle the Government Office for London. The mayor's proposals were immediately backed by Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary.
Mandrake understands that the Queen had no objection to control of the agency, which manages eight royal parks and other areas of garden and parkland, being transferred from the Government to the GLA.
However, when councils, including Westminster and Richmond, objected to the plan and insisted on taking control of the parks within their boundaries, it became clear that the break-up of the body was likely. The Royal Parks, which is an executive agency of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, manages 5,000 acres of London, including the gardens of Downing Street.
Management of the Royal Parks, which includes Hyde Park and St James's Park, was transferred from the monarch to the government in 1851.
Many members of the Royal family live in Kensington Palace, which overlooks Kensington Gardens, while Princess Alexandra. the Queen's cousin, resides at Thatched House Lodge, in Richmond Park.

Ed. Notes:
This article reflects the growing problem of park governance in general and may contribute to the thinking concerning Crystal Palace Park. Discussions in the Park Working Group - set up during the consultation period leading up to the submission of the Master Plan for Crystal Palace Park - many models for governance were considered including a London-wide parks authority, a Trust or simply a joint five-borough arrangement.

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19/08/10 Last Updated 19/08/10