A record ten parks across the borough have been rated among the best in the country, during Love Parks Week.
This year Inwood Park, Hounslow, and Dukes Meadows, Chiswick, join eight current holders of the prestigious Green Flag status.
The national award, handed out by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, recognises and rewards the best parks and green spaces across the country. A Green Flag flying overhead is a sign to visitors that the space boasts the highest possible standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent facilities.
Cllr Sachin Gupta, cabinet member for leisure and public health at the council, said: “Green Flags are the gold standard, so to win another two shows that our efforts to improve local parks are really making a difference.
“There has been a lot of work to bring these parks up to this level, not only from our grounds staff, but also the many volunteers and friends groups who volunteer their time to improve the sites for everyone’s enjoyment.
“We are determined to provide local people with parks and open spaces they can be proud of and enjoy for years to come.”
Inwood Park is an excellent example of partnership between a local authority, contractors and members of the local community. Sitting in the heart of Hounslow, the park has been transformed from a ‘no go area’ to one that is popular and loved by the community.
The park has been recently improved with a new water play feature at the site of the former paddling pool, and the main play area in the park has been upgraded with exciting new play features for toddlers to teenagers and a table tennis table. The park is now safer than it has ever been before due to a vigilant friends group, a gardener on site and the local Community Safety Team.
Jo Murray, chair of the Friends of Inwood Park, said: “It is very important for the health and well-being of the people of Hounslow that we have available high-quality green space and parks. The award is recognition for all the hard work that has gone in to making the park a significant local asset.
“Friends of Inwood Park are delighted with the Green Flag award and would like to thank the dedication and hard work of the gardener Simon.”
Dukes Meadow is another example of community activism in the management of parks and open spaces.
Dukes Meadows Trust has been active on the site for a number of years and has led on the regeneration of the park – raising more than £1 million to create two high quality play areas, one of which they manage themselves.
The site hosts a popular water play area, a farmers market and art studios.
Carillion manage the parks on behalf of the council, and maintain many of the facilities provided, including the play areas, sports facilities, trees, grass and flower beds. Together, these facilities provide a pleasant environment and leafy ambience for the borough.
Kathleen Healy, from the Dukes Meadow Trust, said: “Everyone who has been involved is delighted. The trust has raised over £1 million to create new play areas, plant orchards, meadows and hedgerows and transform the park from a semi derelict, no go area go to a thriving and popular park. It is great to have this achievement recognised with a Green Flag.
“The social enterprises the trust established now generate over £70,000 a year and we are using this to maintain the improvements made and provide free family events such as the Birds of Prey display last Sunday. We welcome volunteers and people can find out how to get involved through our website.”
Green Flag Award Scheme Manager Paul Todd said: “The parks sector is facing some tough challenges so it is heartening to see that they are committed to maintaining and improving standards.
“We know how passionate people are about our parks and green spaces and the recent Heritage Lottery Fund report, State of UK Public Parks, highlighted the need for everyone to work together to ensure they are maintained for future generations.”
The existing Green Flag parks are:
- Beaversfield Park
- Bedfont Lakes Country Park
- Boston Manor Park
- Crane Park
- Feltham Park
- Hanworth Park
- St John’s Gardens
- Turnham Green