28 July 2010

Three of Northamptonshire’s pocket parks have been given a Green Pennant Award today (Wednesday 28th July).

The award means that Kingsthorpe New Churchyard, Great Billing and Great Hougton in Northampton have each been recognised as some of the best parks in the UK.

Green Pennant Awards (part of the Green Flag Award scheme) recognise and reward the best community run parks in the country and Kingsthorpe New Churchyard, Great Billing and Great Houghton stood out after impressing the judges with excellent facilities including well managed green space, signage and amenities as well as the dedication of the local people.

This year has seen the highest number of awards handed out – a record 1200 Green Flags and Green Pennants across the UK compared to 1,013 in 2009. Green Pennants are awarded to parks or green spaces managed by a community or voluntary group.

Only green spaces that are free to enter and open to the public are eligible to win an award through the scheme, which is run by environmental charities Keep Britain Tidy, BTCV and GreenSpace.

Councillor Andre Gonzalez de Savage, county council cabinet member for customers and communities said: ““Northamptonshire County Council has been working in partnership with local communities for 26 years to help establish pocket parks across the county.

“Pocket parks are helping protect and conserve local wildlife, heritage and landscape – caring for countryside on our doorstep. It is really nice to see the official recognition of the all the achievements and hard work of voluntary groups who manage their green spaces for the benefit of their local community”

Paul Todd, Manager, Green Flag Award Scheme, said: “It’s a remarkable achievement that so many parks have successfully reached Green Flag and Pennant Award status this year. The staff and community groups running the parks work very hard throughout the year to ensure their facilities are maintained to a high standard and enjoyed by the entire community.

“As the recession bites and people look closer to home to enjoy the outdoors, the provision of high-quality, free open spaces is of particular importance.”

Additional information:

  • The Green Flag Award Scheme is managed by a consortium, comprising Keep Britain Tidy, BTCV and GreenSpace. Known collectively as the Green Flag Plus Partnership, the consortium manages the scheme in England on behalf of Communities and Local Government (CLG) and in Wales for the Welsh Steering Group.
  • Green Flag Award recognises well-managed, high-quality green spaces. Any green space is eligible to win this award providing visitors can enter free of charge. Previous winners include parks managed by local authorities as well as those run by community groups and trusts.
  • The applications for the Green Flag Awards are judged against eight criteria: a welcoming place; healthy safe and secure; clean and well maintained; sustainability; conservation and heritage; community involvement; marketing; and management.
  • The Green Flag Award vision is that by 2020, 50 per cent of green spaces in England and Wales will be of Green Flag standard – a staggering 15,000 sites.
  • For more information visit: www.greenflagaward.org.uk