Hanley Park has been awarded the prestigious Green Flag.
The 125-year-old venue, which has undergone a multi-million pound restoration over the last few years, has been recognised nationally as a quality green public space by the charity Keep Britain Tidy, and has also been recognised with a RHS Britain in bloom Silver Gilt award.
The 60-acre park, which opened in 1897, has had its bandstand restored, the main pavilion reinstated as a café and its boathouse brought back to life along with a whole raft of other improvements which has led to a surge in visitors. Stoke-on-Trent City Council, which owns and maintains the park, successfully bid for £4.5 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund in 2015 to restore the park’s historic features and attract more park users of all ages.
Burslem Park has also retained its Green flag status following inspections of the restored Victorian terrace garden and ornamental fountains.
Councillor Carl Edwards, cabinet member for environment and housing at the city council, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to once again have received a Green Flag for Hanley Park and Burslem Park. Both parks have seen an incredible transformation over the last few years and these awards feel like a very fitting culmination to all of the hard work that has taken place to get them looking how they do today. One thing the coronavirus pandemic has shown us is just how important it still is to have quality outdoor spaces that everyone can access and enjoy. Our fantastic parks and green spaces in the city have become a lifeline for people to relax, meet friends, exercise or just take a break from the day-to-day.
“It’s great to see the parks busy and full of people enjoying the fantastic facilities on offer. The response from the public to our restoration projects has been very positive and I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has worked hard to keep our parks looking so good, including ‘friends of’ groups, who have a great relationship with the park’s maintenance staff.”
The Green Flag Award scheme, managed by 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, and recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for their management across the United Kingdom and around the world.
More than 2,000 sites across the country will collect the award for 2021.
Elsewhere in the city, a stretch of the Caldon Canal from Harecastle to Etruria has also secured a Green Flag in this year’s awards - the first green flag for a canal in the city.
A short distance away at Tunstall Park, the city council have recently completed a £729,000 restoration project to restore the boathouse, improve the bandstand, resurface the children’s play area and create new paths. And Central Forest Park playground is the latest play area to have been improved and updated as part of a wider investment programme across a number of parks to enhance the family experience. Works are scheduled to start the next round at Westport Lake.
Amateur gardeners across the city are also celebrating with recognition in the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Allotments in your neighbourhood award. Dolly’s Lane, Buxton Street, Caverswall and Stoke Old Boys Plot were all recognised.
Cllr Lesley Adams, Allotment Champion at the city council, said: “With around 3200 plots over 80 allotment sites across the city, it’s great that some of our allotments are being recognised nationally. Gardening plays a huge role in both preventing and alleviating mental ill-health, as well as the physical benefits of exercising and eating freshly grown produce. It’s fair to say that having an allotment plot has never been more popular.”