By Chief Correspondent Rob Thomas
FOUR parks and green spaces in Fareham and Gosport have retained their Green Flags for another year but no other local parks have been added to the list of award winners.
Fareham’s Holly Hill Woodland Park at Sarisbury Green and the Sensory Garden of Reflection in the town – for the 15th and 13th consecutive years respectively – have been awarded a Green Flag for 2022.
Both borough councils welcomed the awards and expressed their gratitude to all those involved in maintaining the parks including their grounds maintenance staff and volunteers – Gosport Council Leader Councillor Peter Chegwyn highlighting the work of the Friends of Crescent Garden and the Friends of Stanley Park.
The chair of the Friends of Crescent Garden told The Globe she was delighted by the award because of, “the hard times over the last three years due to Covid when we had to keep away.
“We’ve really worked hard to bring it all back to what it was.”
The garden is open all day, every day but she added: “Every Wednesday morning the grounds team are there working but at 11am they stop for coffee and everybody is welcome to come along.”
‘the beating heart of the community’
The environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy manages the Green Flag Award scheme under licence from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
The judging criteria for the award include that the park is welcoming, healthy, safe and secure, and is well maintained and clean. Environmental standards – energy efficiency and actions to meet climate change challenges – and biodiversity are also in the assessment, as is marketing and communications, and community involvement.
With the award scheme celebrating the recognition of a record number of parks and green spaces, Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton OBE maintained her theme of last year, saying that parks are, “the beating heart of a community, providing countless benefits to people and wildlife.
“Importantly, they provide a green haven for everybody to enjoy, regardless of their age, social status or ability to pay for access. It’s clear from our research that for quality green spaces to meaningfully contribute to our health and wellbeing, they must be universally accessible and fit for purpose.”
And the importance of parks is not lost on the borough councils with Gosport council stating it intends to increase the number of parks and open spaces being awarded a Green Flag. No specific park is named as a contender but the council’s website lists 21 parks and open spaces – though, interestingly, the Alver Valley Country Park is listed separately.
Fareham also has other parks – including Abbey Meadows which was formally opened twelve months ago – that could be put forward for a Green Flag award in future years. There is a relatively small fee to enter a park or open space for an award plus the paperwork to support the entry and being available to meet the judges when they visit.
Further afield, five Hampshire country parks have retained their Green Flag status – Lepe, Staunton, River Hamble, Royal Victoria, and Queen Elizabeth– with Staunton and Royal Victoria also receiving Green Heritage Site Accreditation.
Photograph (top): the tranquil environment of Crescent Garden. Friends of Crescent Garden, reproduced with permission.