Like many organisations operating in the public sector, The Royal Parks has faced some substantial and very challenging cuts to the money it receives from central Government. This has left us with some tough choices about how we spend our limited resources.
It currently costs us around £1.5m a year to operate 27 toilet blocks across the Royal Parks. This equates to around one tenth of our entire grant from central Government.
Unfortunately this level of subsidy is no longer possible and we are faced with a choice of either closing toilet blocks or introducing a modest charge for their use.
We have a high standard of toilets and no desire to see them close, so we have taken a decision to introduce a 20 pence charge for their use.
Importantly, accessible toilets (used by people with disabilities) and children's toilets in playgrounds will still be free to access. Baby changing facilities are widely available within accessible toilets at no charge. Accessible toilets can be accessed using a radar key or through the attendant. There will be no charging at toilets in park cafes as they are not included in these plans.
Charges will be introduced across the Royal Parks from February to March 2015. We will give as much notice as possible before charging begins by putting notices on toilet blocks and park notice boards and writing to park friends groups and other stakeholders.
We would prefer to keep the toilets open and free of charge but unfortunately this is not possible. Government funding for The Royal Parks has been reduced by more than a third in real terms since 2010/11, so we must think very carefully about how we spend our limited resources. We think the 20 pence charge is a relatively modest compromise and compares well with other toilet facilities in London.
List of toilets
Park Toilets where charging will be introduced:
Greenwich – Lower Ave
Greenwich – Rockery (Blackheath Gate)
Hyde – Bandstand
Hyde – Reservoir
Kensington Gardens – Marlborough Gate
Kensington Gardens – Mount Gate
Regent's Park – Primrose Hill Adults
Regent's Park – Boat House (also known as Hanover Gate Adult toilets)
Regent's Park – Chester Road
Regent's Park – Queen Mary's Gardens
Richmond Park – Kingston Gate
Richmond Park – Ham Gate
Richmond Park – Richmond Gate
Richmond Park – Robin Hood
Richmond Park – Sheen Gate
St James's Park – Horse Guards
St James's Park – Marlborough Gate
Victoria Tower Gardens – when opened in 2015
Park Toilets where charging will not be introduced
Reason why no charging
Bushy Park - Playground
Greenwich Park - Playground
Kensington Gardens – Diana Playground
Part of block 7 above
Regent's Park – Primrose Hill Playground
Regent's Park – Gloucester Gate Playground
Regent's Park – Hanover Gate Playground
Regent's Park – Marylebone Green Playground
Richmond Park – Isabella Plantation 1 (top of wood)
Remote location in woodland
Richmond Park – Isabella Plantation 2 (bottom of wood, just built)
Remote location in woodland
Richmond Park – Petersham Playground
Richmond Park – Roehampton Gate
St James's Park - Playground
Total Number of Blocks 17+10 = 27
Catering and Visitor Centre Toilets Outside of the contract
Bushy Park – Welcome Centre
Richmond Park – Pembroke Lodge
Hyde Park – Serpentine Bar and Kitchen
Hyde Park – Lido toilets
Hyde Park – Tennis Pavilion
Regent's Park – The Hub (including public toilets within the entrance)
Regent's Park – Garden Cafe
St James's Park – Inn the Park
Greenwich Park – Cow and Coffee Bean
Greenwich Park – Pavilion Cafe