Traders near Bushy Park are refusing to pay a "deer tax" introduced 500 years ago by Henry VIII. The tax was intended to compensate Henry for the loss of any deer which jumped over the wall and escaped from the park.
The Royal Parks say the tax is effectively a rental charge for the use of land near the park. Trader Lawrence Phipps has to pay £1,400 for a five metre wide strip of land next to the perimeter wall.
A Royal Parks spokesman said:
The Royal Parks charges an annual licence fee to owners whose property encroaches on Bushy Park.
All revenue raised from licences and rent contribute to the maintenance of the park.
The Royal Parks staff are always willing to discuss any concerns owners may have about the level or structure of charges.
Twickenham MP Vince Cable said the tax was "outrageous".
This is just a bizarre anomaly, a tax that originated hundreds of years ago because of what was happening in Tudor times.
The traders today are faced with the burden of paying it.