HL Deb 16 October 1995 vol 566 cc79-80WA
Lord Kennet

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What are the terms of reference given to the consultants charged by the Royal Parks Agency with (a) enquiring into the demand for more services and developments within the Royal Parks and (b) making proposals for "marketing" the Royal Parks; and whether either more services and developments or "marketing" was envisaged or recommended by the Jenkins Group in their report; and

Which amenity societies were consulted about the remits to the consultants enquiring into aspects of the Royal Parks; which of them expressed views; and to what extent these views were taken into account.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of National Heritage (Lord Inglewood)

Responsibility for the subject of these questions has been delegated to the Royal Parks Agency under its Chief Executive, Mr. David Welch. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Lord Kennet from the Head of Policy, The Royal Parks, Ms Viviane Robertson:

In the absence of the Chief Executive, David Welch, I have been asked by Lord Inglewood to reply to your questions about the consultants charged with enquiring into the demand for more services and developments and making proposals for marketing the Royal Parks, the extent to which such action was envisaged or recommended by the Jenkins group and the degree of consultation with local amenity groups.

In his replies to your earlier questions on the subject (letters dated 3 April and 13 June), David Welch outlined the terms of reference given to the University of North London, which has been engaged to carry out a three-year market research contract. He also referred to the recommendation in the Jenkins group's report on Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens that market research should be carried out at regular intervals.

The contract with the University of North London is for the provision of market research services only. From the survey results, the agency will be able to assess whether there is any requirement from park users for more services and developments in the parks. We will also be able to assess whether there is a need to market the parks more effectively. This will then be considered as part of our forward planning process.

In addition to stressing the importance of market research as a means of assessing the requirements of park visitors, all three of the reports which have so far been published by the Royal Parks Review Group have recommended improvements to a wide range of services, including catering, toilets, children's play facilities and the provision of information and interpretation for park users.

Although amenity groups were not specifically asked to comment on the scope of the current market research survey, representatives of Friends' groups and the various interest groups were invited to the three public conferences held to discuss each of the review group's reports and encouraged to put forward views on any aspect of the reports and their recommendations.