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Chelmsford retains Green Flag status for 17 parks

Hanbury Memorial Gardens in Hylands Park

Seventeen of Chelmsford City Council’s parks have been recognised for another year as being some of the best in the UK.

The Green Flag Award is an international quality mark for parks and green spaces. Achieving 17 awards in Chelmsford for a further year is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the council’s parks team. They care for the city’s green spaces so that all residents, visitors, and wildlife can enjoy them.

The award-winning parks are found across Chelmsford and include Hylands Park, Galleywood Common and many others.

Recognition for Marconi Ponds Local Nature Reserve

A special award was given to the Marconi Ponds Local Nature Reserve (LNR). Chelmsford’s smallest LNR was once again a recipient of a Green Flag Community Award, in recognition of being a high-quality green space managed by voluntary and community groups.

The site is managed by Friends of Marconi Ponds group with support from Chelmsford City Council’s parks team. They support with practical conservation, record the plants and animals on the site and help promote and manage the project. Find out more about Marconi Ponds and their recent work with bat conservation on the Love Your Chelmsford website.

The importance of Green Flag Awards

Green Flag Awards are internationally recognised and set a benchmark standard for the management of parks and outdoor spaces. This year, 2,216 parks won the award. Chelmsford boasts some of the highest numbers of Green Flag Awards found in the East of England.

Access to recreational outdoor spaces is vital for improving residents’ wellbeing and quality of life. Chelmsford’s parks team and volunteers understand this. They strive to ensure the parks are kept to the very highest standard, from the colourful flower planting schemes, to the maintenance of public facilities.

The judges assessing Chelmsford’s parks for the Green Flag Awards commented that “everyone we met…were all excellent ambassadors to the service, all clearly proud of the work they do. There is a real sense of cohesive working practices with proactive long-term planning.”

Providing space to thrive

The award judges also noted with interest the council’s approach to environmental management and biodiversity. The City Council agreed a Climate and Ecological Emergency Action Plan in January 2020 with one of the key areas of activity to increase biodiversity.

The council is now in its second year of a reduced grass cutting regime. Certain areas of Chelmsford, including parks and communal green spaces, recreational areas, residential open spaces, and roadside verges are being cut less frequently. This is to benefit bees, butterflies, birds, insects, slow worms, bats, and other pollinators.

Councillor Rose Moore, Cabinet Member for a Greener and Safer Chelmsford thinks Chelmsford’s award success is wonderful news:

“I’m very proud that once again our parks and green spaces have been recognised as some of the best in the country. I see first-hand how hard the parks team and volunteers work to help our precious green spaces flourish, right across the district.

“We want to achieve balance, between public access and enjoyment and supporting nature to give wildlife a home. The old mowing policy didn’t allow nature to thrive. The new policy the council has introduced helps us restore lost grassland habitats and create vital corridors for pollinators. We’re bringing nature into the heart of the city.”

Councillor Rose Moore, Cabinet Member for a Greener and Safer Chelmsford

Visit local parks this summer

There are things to see all year round in Chelmsford’s Green Flag parks and they’re a great place for families to have fun in the summer holidays. Look out for Harry the Otter’s QR code when walking the nature trail at Chelmer Valley Local Nature Reserve.

Visit the Love Your Chelmsford website to see a list of all Chelmsford City Council’s green spaces, as well as the recreational facilities that can be found in each location.

“I would like to congratulate everyone involved at Chelmsford City Council on achieving 17 Green Flag Awards.

“Chelmsford is a vital green space for the community in Essex, bringing people together and providing opportunities to lead healthy lifestyles. The staff and volunteers do so much to ensure that it maintains the high standards of the Green Flag Award and everyone involved should feel extremely proud of their achievement.”

Paul Todd MBE, Keep Britain Tidy’s Green Flag Award Scheme Manager
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Charlotte Maltby
Charlotte Maltby

Charlotte writes about the environment, parks, recycling, business, planning, public realm and democratic services.