A conservation society has hit out at “sinister” plans to install nine gates around a popular public park.

The Open Spaces Society (OSS) has objected to plans by The Royal Parks to install new gates to help close Primrose Hill overnight at weekends.

The parks charity claims that during the pandemic complaints about noise and anti-social behaviour increased.

Temporary fencing across the park entrances secured by padlocks and chains has been used in recent months to enforce weekend closures.

Kate Ashbrook, the OSS general secretary, has now claimed that the plans have “sinister similarities” to other cases the society has fought over the years.

She said that the society was determined not to see “history repeated" at Primrose Hill.

The Royal Parks says that the park would be closed from 10pm until 6am on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during summer daylight saving time.

But the OSS has said that it had seen “no evidence” that this was necessary, pointing to the fact the park remained open 24 hours a day before 2022.

Ms Ashbrook said: “Once gates are installed, they can be locked at any time, whether during summer nights or on more occasions, with the deplorable exclusion of the public. 

“We do not believe that this risk should be taken, and therefore we oppose the installation of the gates.”

An engagement survey carried out by The Royal Parks at the end of 2022 showed a mixed response by park users about proposals to routinely lock the park.

Around 46% of 1,257 respondents said the park should either never be shut or should only be closed for operational reasons, such as during extreme weather or events like Halloween.

The remainder supported some form of night-time closures, either seven days a week or only at weekends.

Planning documents suggest that nine new gates would be installed around the park.

Three of these would be in Primrose Hill Road, two in Albert Terrace and one in each of Elsworthy Road, Fitzroy Road, Prince Albert Road and Ormonde Terrace.

A Royal Parks spokesperson said: “A planning application has been submitted to install gates on Primrose Hill which will be subject to statutory consultation by Camden Council, providing an opportunity for the public to comment.”

Full details of the plans can be found on Camden Council’s planning portal. Comments can be made until tomorrow (November 30).

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