The managers of Bushy Park said they will keep a threatened car park open during weekends and public holidays following an outcry from visitors concerned about a lack of spaces.

Royal Parks had been due to close the Upper Lodge Road car park, but revealed this week it had shelved the proposal and will instead use it as an overflow facility.

However, it will reduce its size and encourage more visitors to use the Clapperstile car park, via the National Physical Laboratory.

Royal Parks stressed the move was a “mid-term solution”, and ultimately hopes to dig it up and turn it into parkland.

It has agreed a plan with the Heritage Lottery Fund, which co-funded a restoration project that increased the number of visitors at Bushy Park, to remove the car park.

Dog walker Julie Hill, a member of the Friends of Bushy Park group, said: “It’s going to be sitting empty all week, that’s just nonsense.

“What’s the benefit of keeping a car park empty all week?

“If it’s pouring with rain, the easiest thing to do is to park there and let your dog out the car.

“I think it’s a barmy decision, it penalises regular park users during the week.”

Royal Parks said it will reduce the tarmac area of the Upper Lodge Road car park and remove the grass overflow area.

A spokeswoman for Royal Parks said: “Together with the Heritage Lottery Fund and the partnership steering group, which is largely composed of members of the public, the Royal Parks has agreed an approach which we believe strikes a balance between protecting the park and providing appropriate facilities for park users.

“While our long-term objective remains to return the car park to parkland, in the interim we propose retaining the Upper Lodge Road car park and using it as an overflow facility during weekends and public holidays.

“In addition, we propose reducing the area of the car park and creating designated Blue Badge parking spaces. We will also do more work to signpost the new car parks already provided and encourage park visitors to use them.”