Ipswich celebrates as three parks win prestigious Green Flag Awards

PUBLISHED: 00:01 14 October 2020

The pond through the trees in Christchurch Park Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The pond through the trees in Christchurch Park Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Sarah Lucy Brown

Three of Ipswich’s best parks which have provided a “lifeline” to residents during the coronavirus pandemic have been rewarded with a prestigious prize.

Bourne Park is raising a Green Flag Award for the first time, alongside Christchurch which has now won 13 flags in succession and Holywells which has chalked up 10 in a row.

The Green Flag Award scheme, managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for their management across the United Kingdom and around the world.

Bourne, Christchurch and Holywells are three of more than 2,000 sites across the country to collect the award for 2020.

Philip Smart, Ipswich Borough Council’s parks and open spaces portfolio holder, said: “This is fantastic news for Ipswich, especially this year when our parks and open spaces have been a lifeline to residents, providing them with a place to relax, meet friends, exercise or simply escape for a short time.

“The fact that Bourne has been recognised for the first time is testament to the incredible dedication and hard work of parks staff who have worked tirelessly to make improvements to the park and maintain it to the standards required despite the challenges that went along with record numbers of visitors.”

The Green Flags will be officially unfurled this week, starting with Bourne Park on Wednesday, October 14 at 10am.

That evening, Christchurch Park’s Round Pond will join buildings and landmarks across the country, including the White Cliffs of Dover at Samphire Hoe, the London Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Salford’s Media City, going green for parks to celebrate Ipswich’s Green Flag Award success and to say a massive thank you to the parks staff, volunteers and the Green Flag Award Judges for all their work this year.

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Ann Havard, chair of the Friends of Belstead Brook, said: “We are delighted to hear that Bourne Park has been awarded a Green Flag.

“As well as great facilities for play, the park has important wildlife areas. In particular the reed beds on the southern edge which as well as being a Local Nature Reserve, are also one of the largest areas of reed bed in south Suffolk and home to many important species including the sedge warbler. ”

Peter Gray, chair of the Friends of Christchurch Park, moved to praise the park staff for their work this year.

He said: “I doubt that there has been a year when parks like Christchurch Park have ever been more important or more appreciated by members of the community.

The hard work of all the park team, often in the most difficult of circumstances, has been acknowledged in the retention of the Green Flag award.

“This is a wonderful achievement for Christchurch Park and the borough council.”

Robin Gape, chair of the Friends of Holywells Park, added: “The Friends of Holywells Park are truly delighted to welcome the 10th consecutive Green Flag Award made to Holywells Park.

“The continuing award is a tribute to the hard work, care, and passion of all those, paid and volunteers, who maintain and care for the park in so many ways.”

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