The flags are flying high in South Ribble, with today’s news that council parks have been ranked among the best in the UK.
The borough has scooped three prestigious Green Flag Awards – the gold standard for parks and open spaces – for Worden Park in Leyland, Longton Brickcroft Nature Reserve, and Hurst Grange Park in Penwortham.
Not only have the top parks retained their coveted Green Flag status, but Hurst Grange Park received its highest-ever mark follow an inspection by Green Flag judges - to the delight of officers and the friends groups who work hard all year round to keep the park in great condition.
The good news comes in the same week as the announcement of a £250,000 cash boost for Withy Grove Park in Bamber Bridge, due to be rubber-stamped by cabinet members at a meeting next week.
Work will be done on the more natural west side of the park, to create a new network or footpaths and cycle paths.
There will be a new pond created, trees planted, interpretation boards and the potential for a number of pieces of public art – all in the hope of raising the park to a standard worthy of a Green Flag Award.
Councillor Graham Walton, cabinet member for Neighbourhood Services and Street Scene, said: “We’re over the moon to receive Green Flag Awards for three of our parks for yet another year. It’s a huge achievement, and is down not only to our staff, but also to the loyal army of volunteers who work tirelessly all year round to keep standards so high. For that, I would like to sincerely thank them.
“South Ribble has a well-earned reputation as the garden of Lancashire, with families travelling from far and wide to spend time at its award-winning parks. We recognise this is something we do well, and are committed to keeping standards high so our parks can be enjoyed for generations to come.
“We’re also keeping our fingers crossed that the improvement work we hope to carry out at Withy Grove Park will mean that by 2019 South Ribble will have four Green Flag-standard parks to its name.”
Worden Park – the jewel in borough’s crown – is enjoying its 21st consecutive Green Flag – scooping an award every single year since the scheme began (the only park north of London to boast such a claim).
The park is a family favourite, with its top-of-the-range adventure playground, maze, mini golf and miniature steam train that runs on Sundays.
Longton Brickcroft and Hurst Grange aren’t far behind, with Longton having raised 20 coveted flags while Hurst Grange Park has held on to the title since 2005 when it was first awarded one.
The Green Flag Award recognises and rewards the best free parks and green spaces across the country. A Green Flag flying overhead is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent facilities.
More than 83 per cent of people asked said they loved the borough’s parks and open spaces, in a recent resident survey carried out earlier this year. And one of the main factors contributing to South Ribble being named “best place to live in the UK” following research by a Channel 4 TV show, was access to fantastic parks and green spaces.
DID YOU KNOW?
South Ribble has 12 different friends groups who muck in with everything from plantings to litter picks at their local parks. If you’d like to join your local friends group, visit www.southribble.gov.uk/friends or ring 01772 625625 to find out how you can get involved.