The leader of Richmond Council has called on Royal Parks to stop chasing planning permission for pay and display machines in Richmond and Bushy parks.

Pressure is mounting on the agency to withdraw two applications after Councillor Nick True instructed planning officers to request it to scrap the proposals.

The call follows confirmation by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport of its intention to transfer management of the Royal Parks to Boris Johnson - a power handover which would give final say on the controversial charging scheme to the London Mayor, who has publicly opposed the plan.

Parliament’s state opening was expected to be the first step in the management change but it was not explicitly referred to in the Queen’s speech on May 25.

It has since emerged the process could take many months - if not longer - to take effect because such a handover requires a change in legislation - raising questions whether the Royal Parks will push ahead with its planning applications in the meantime.

But Coun True said: “If they do not withdraw the applications some might call it boneheaded bureaucracy and a blatant inability or unwillingness to listen to the verdict of people.

“If Royal Parks do not listen to such obvious common sense, then we will make formal objections as a council.

“I have opposed the idea of charges ever since they were first mooted - and we do not want or need this dismal paraphernalia that go with them.”

Campaigners have resolved to object to the planning proposals.

Community groups have already called for assurance from the coalition Government - made up of parties which both oppose parking charges of up to £1 an hour - that the fees be ditched before money is spent on new contracts or the machines and signs are approved.

In a letter to party leaders, MPs and officials, chairman of the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks, Pieter Morpurgo, said: “These plans are, as the original car park charging proposals are, ill thought out and do not take into account the very special nature of the place in which it is planned to place these monstrosities.”

Twickenham MP Vince Cable has also lodged a formal objection with the council.

He said: “I am optimistic that the charges will not go ahead but in the meantime we have to try and stop the planning application.

“Richmond Council has to make its decision on planning grounds but there are such grounds.

“If the council rejects the application, there may be an appeal, but the coalition Government will then have time to repeal the charges through a parliamentary order.”

The Royal Parks declined to comment.

The planning applications can be seen by visiting and searching under 10/1192/FUL for Bushy Park and 10/1193/FUL for Richmond Park.

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