Ealing’s parks have been awarded more new Green Flags than any other borough in the UK, it was announced this week.
Seven of the borough’s parks were awarded a Green Flag for the first time, and two parks (Northala Fields and Acton Park) were awarded Green Flags for the second year running.
The new Green Flags were awarded to Southall Manor House Grounds, Pitshanger Park, Ravenor Park, North Acton Playing Fields, King George’s Playing Field, Bramley Road Open Space and Brent Lodge Park and Churchfields.
The parks were judged against eight criteria, including how clean and well maintained they are, and how actively involved the community is, before they were awarded the prestigious flags.
Improving the borough’s parks is a high priority for the council. Many have benefitted from additional funding from external grants and the council, as well as a reallocation of funds to carry out significant improvements and to increase community and volunteering opportunities.
Brent River Park is one open space that recently underwent improvement work. It beat 46 other parks across the capital to win £400,000 from the Mayor of London’s ‘Help a Park’ scheme, which was secured after more than 4600 residents cast their votes in support of the redevelopment. The council injected a further £487,000 to rejuvenate the large swathe of land that includes Green Flag winners, Brent Lodge Park and Churchfields.
Visitors can now enjoy new park benches, maps and information boards, better paths and cycle tracks, and new trees and flower beds. More than 500 volunteers lent their time to clear 100 tonnes of rubbish from the Brent River, which runs through the park, as well as reinstate the river’s delicate biodiversity.
The park also features hay meadows, veteran trees, rich wildlife, as well as a modern playground, a hedge maze for children, and the Brent Lodge Park Animal Centre.
Popularly known as ‘the bunny park’, the animal centre is bursting with community and learning activities. The butterfly house is run by a group from Ealing Mencap and the Brent Lodge Park Art Collective run a studio out of the centre, while school and community groups regularly visit for hands-on educational sessions.
Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “Our many parks are one of reasons that Ealing is a sought after place to live, work and visit. It is so important all is done to make them beautiful, natural havens within the urbanised landscape of Ealing. We’re ambitious and committed to investing money and effort to ensure our parks offer tranquillity as well as being spaces that residents can enjoy through play and leisure.
“We are very proud to have been awarded the largest increase of new Green Flags this year, and will work towards to entering even more parks in next year’s awards.”
More improvements are to come for parks, with £440,000 set aside this financial year to carry out a range of park upgrades. This is in addition to £135,000 carried forward from last year and a further £200,000 to update or build new playgrounds.
For more information about the green flag scheme, visit: http://www.greenflag.keepbritaintidy.org