Seven parks in Cheltenham have won coveted Green Flag Awards this year, including the historic Sandford Park for the first time, in recognition of being among the country's finest parks and green spaces.
Sandford Park has been a much-loved town centre green space since 1927, when it was designed by early-twentieth century English landscape architects, Milner-White & Son, whose projects include Buxton Pavilion Gardens and Crystal Palace Park.
The park's features include cycle routes, Italianate formal gardens, ornamental fountains, sculptures and many beautiful flowers beds, not to mention a children's play area, boules court, table tennis area and the iconic lido.
The winners retaining their Green Flag Awards this year include Hatherley Park, Montpellier Gardens, Naunton Park, Pittville Park, Springfields Park and Winston Churchill Memorial Gardens.
Councillor Iain Dobie, cabinet member for waste, recycling and street services, said: 'We are delighted to receive a Green Flag Award for seven of our town’s parks this year — including Sandford Park for the first time. These awards demonstrate the achievement and dedication of our volunteers, friends of groups, green space team, UBICO grounds maintenance and cleansing team who work hard to maintain these beautiful areas to such a high standard.'
Richard Woolley, chair of the Friends of Sandford Park, said: 'It is a great honour for our park to have been chosen to receive the internationally recognised Green Flag award for the first time. It indicates the hard work and passion that all members of the team give to this wonderful park.'
Across Gloucestershire, several more parks and green spaces have been awarded Green Flags this year, including Gloucester & Sharpness Canal; St Michael's Park in Cirencester; Barnwood Park and Arboretum, Robinswood Hill Country Park and Saintbridge Balancing Pond and Allotments, all in Gloucester, with Pittville Park in Cheltenham also gaining Green Heritage Site Accreditation for the management of its historic features.
Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said: 'Our parks continue to provide a vital sanctuary for communities to play, grow and bond. At Keep Britain Tidy, we’re very proud of the Green Flag Award — a crucial component in ensuring the continuing quality of our parks and green spaces, making sure they are managed to the highest standards and are safe and accessible.
'We believe it should be a minimum standard for every park — and that everyone, wherever they live, should have access to high-quality green space.'