HC Deb 17 April 1902 vol 106 cc521-2
MR. ARTHUR LEE (Hampshire, Fareham)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War will he explain why the use of Richmond Park as an exercising ground is forbidden to any branch of His Majesty's regular or auxiliary forces, whereas all civilians are allowed the free use of the park for taking exercise, either on horseback or on foot, and whether, in view of the restricted facilities for giving practical training to Volunteer corps in the Metropolitan area, and in view of the suitability of Richmond Park for this purpose, he will endeavour to obtain the necessary permission from the responsible authorities for the occasional use of this park as a military exercising ground.

I beg at the same time to ask the First Commissioner of Works whether he will state who is the authority responsible for the issue of regulations respecting the use of Richmond Park; what sum if any, is voted by the public for the maintenance of this park; and what are the specific objects for which this park is maintained at the public expense.


My right hon. friend has asked me to reply to this Question, and perhaps my hon. friend will allow me to answer this and the next Question together. The rules for the management of Richmond Park, in accordance with the Parks Regulation Act of 1872, are made by the Ranger and the Commissioners of Works jointly. The sum voted out of public funds for the park last year was £5,030, but there are certain credits by way of receipts amounting to about £600 a year. The park is maintained out of moneys voted by Parliament for the general enjoyment of the public. To allow Richmond Park to be used as an exercise ground for troops would limit its enjoyment by the public, inasmuch as there would be a consider able risk of damage to the fine plantations, rhododendrons, and shrubs, as well as danger of injury to the deer and the wild birds, especially the herons, preserved in the interests of the public as one of the principal amenities of the park. A considerable area between the Sheen and Richmond Gates is already used, by permission, for Volunteer drills but though I am prepared to consider with the Ranger whether this area might be extended, I can hold out no hope of allowing the park generally to be used as an exercise ground.