“Green Oscar” for park jewels

It’s a flag waving day for Liverpool – after two of its best loved parks picked up a national award.

Sefton Park and Stanley Park have both retained the coveted Green Flag status – for the 15th year in a row – in recognition of their excellent condition.

The government-backed accolade, awarded by Keep Britain Tidy, is internationally recognised and seen as “the Oscars of the park world”.

Sefton Park, which celebrated its 150th anniversary in May with a happy birthday message from Sir Paul McCartney, is widely regarded as one of the country’s most outstanding public parks with a distinctive landscape of watercourses.

The city’s only Grade I listed Park, it is home to the beautiful and iconic Palm House which recently hosted BBC One’s Antiques Roadshow. Numerous features and facilities have been added to improve the park’s appeal over the decades, with recent upgrades to the children’s playground and a new bins.

Stanley Park, which famously sits between Liverpool and Everton’s football grounds, was designed by leading Victorian landscape architect Edward Kemp and was originally conceived as “a people’s park”.

Opened in 1870, this 110-acre green lung is renowned for its distinctive design and architecture, which includes a formal terrace with lawns and bedding displays enhanced by five sturdy gothic style shelters in red sandstone. The Grade II listed park also features the refurbished Victorian Isla Gladstone Conservatory.

As well as being easy on the eye and a great place for a picnic, Liverpool’s parks are also a cornerstone of the city’s cultural programme and proved to be invaluable spaces during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Each year the city’s parks also play host to thousands of visitors with events such as, the The Walton Festival, Africa Oye and The Arabic Arts Festival.

Councillor Dan Barrington, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, said: “It’s very rewarding to see Sefton and Stanley Parks retain their prestigious Green Flag status.

“They’ve played a huge role in the cultural life of our city for more than a century and maintaining this standard of excellence means we can continue to give residents and visitors a fabulous free experience of enjoying all the benefits of the great outdoors.

“We are proud of all of our parks and keeping them in great condition takes a real team effort. We are fortunate enough to have an extremely dedicated parks team and the support of community volunteers who feel passionately about their local green spaces.

“We are now working with Keep Britain Tidy to ensure the public are better informed about the importance of keeping these vital spaces clean and safe so that we can all enjoy them, every day.”

Alan Smith from Liverpool City Council’s parks team said: “To retain the Green Flag award for this many years really does show the amount of effort everyone puts in to make sure our parks look their best every day – and its hugely rewarding to see families and groups enjoying our parks throughout the year.”

Paul Todd, Keep Britain Tidy’s Accreditation Manager, said: “I would like to congratulate everyone involved in making these parks worthy of a Green Flag Award.

“Sefton Park and Stanley Park are vital green spaces for the community in Liverpool. This award is testament to all the hard work of staff and volunteers, who do so much to ensure that they maintain the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award.”

The Green Flag Award Scheme is run by the environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, under licence from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, in partnership with Keep Scotland Beautiful, Keep Wales Tidy and Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.

A full list of Green Flag Award-winning parks and green spaces is available here.

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