Hammersmith & Fulham has 13 of the best parks and open spaces in the country – and that is official!
The parks have all been honoured with Green Flag Awards by Keep Britain Tidy.
Ravenscourt Park, Frank Banfield Park and Margravine Cemetery have been awarded with Green Flag status for the fifth year in a row.
Normand Park has won the coveted honour for the fourth year while St Peter’s Square in Hammersmith has collected a Green Flag Award for the third time.
In addition, Hammersmith Park, Hurlingham Park, South Park and Norland North on the Edward Woods Estate have all won their second Green Flags while Brook Green has won its maiden award.
Loris Road Open Space, Godolphin Road Open Space and Phoenix Farm (associated with Phoenix School) have also won Green Flags. These are all leased and managed by Hammersmith Community Gardens Associations (HGCA).
The awards recognise Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council’s commitment to ensuring its parks have excellent facilities and are maintained to the highest standard possible all year round.
Cllr Greg Smith, H&F Council’s deputy leader, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded 13 Green Flag awards! Providing top quality, beautiful parks and open spaces is one of this council’s number one priorities and we are thrilled to have won so many Green Flags when back in 2009 we did not have any. This is fantastic news for local residents and I urge everyone to make the best use possible of their local parks.”
To win these Green Flag Awards, the council had to present a management plan to demonstrate that each park is welcoming, healthy, safe, clean and well-maintained. In addition, the council had to prove that management of each site is carried out in an environmentally sound manner, with conservation of natural features, wildlife and historic buildings.
Most importantly, the council had to demonstrate how residents are involved in their local park. Hammersmith & Fulham has been instrumental in establishing ‘Friends of’ groups which enable local residents to sustain and enhance their park as a place of natural beauty and public pleasure in partnership with local authorities.
The borough’s many parks and open spaces have been looking even more pristine since the council teamed up with award-winning grounds maintenance experts Quadron Services in May 2008. Quadron has a proven track record in delivering improvements to parks, open spaces and housing areas throughout the country.
The winning parks
Brook Green in Hammersmith boasts a brand new adventure playground that was opened by London 2012 gold medal rower Tom James last November.
The playground features activities for children of all ages. For the under-fives, there is a sandpit, swings, a bouncy castle and wooden play houses.
Older children can enjoy a climbing web, a climbing wall, rocks, two mounds linked by a bridge and a stream going into a larger sandpit.
Brook Green has a particularly active Friends group who raised half of the £200,000 cost of the playground and are currently raising money for a new sports pavilion.
The park also has a beautiful wildlife are that comprised more than 100 species of flora and fauna.
Robert Jennings, Joint Chairman of the Friends of Brook Green, said: "We are delighted that Brook Green has been awarded Green Flag status this year. It follows an extensive effort to raise funds for the Green to augment LBHF’s budget and gives us great encouragement that our joint programme with them to improve our Green’s look, environment and facilities has already delivered noticeable benefits. It endorses our confidence that the next stage of the makeover involving the construction of a pavilion with a kiosk and working clean toilets and regreening much of the tarmac surface on the western lawn will be as successful.”
The council has recently spent £177,000 improving the play area at South Park in Fulham. New facilities include a timber climbing nest and rock walls, a shipwreck for children to climb on, a zip wire, a reflection pool and a sand pit.
Also in Fulham, Hurlingham Park has undergone a transformation in recent years and now hosts the hugely popular, annual Polo in the Park competition.
Hammersmith Park is a stones throw away from Queens Park Rangers Football Club. The park's historic Japanese Garden, reputed to be one of the oldest Japanese gardens in a public park in the country, has recently been refurbished with new Japanese-themed natural and adventurous play installed to provide a continuous play trail across the whole site. The park is also set to benefit from a new five-a-side football centre.
John Gordon-Smith of the Friends of Hammersmith Park, said: “We are delighted to retain our Green Flag status and see it as recognition of collaborative work between local people the Japanese community and the Council in maintaining and planning for improvement in the garden and current play facilities. The Japanese Garden is the oldest publically owned Japanese Garden in the country and we hope to further develop its unique features, so that the park remains an oasis of calm.”
Norland North is one of the borough's most recently created open spaces on the Kensington and Chelsea boundary. The 2004 major regeneration of Edward Woods Estate and the surrounding area resulted in the creation of this well-loved public park from what was previously housing land and public highway. The park has a variety of facilities ranging from a multi-use games area to a mini wildlife areas.
Normand Park in Fulham reopened in July 2008 following £3 million of improvement from the council, neighbourhood regeneration programme North Fulham New Deal for Communities (NDC) and Arts Council England. The park features a larger and improved play area with outside table tennis tables, climbing walls, ball games area, wildflower planting, sand pit, and an informal play area with grass, trees and balancing beams. There is also a BMX practice area and a community garden area.
Margravine Cemetery in Barons Court has long been regarded as one of the borough’s most beautiful open spaces. This Cemetery was opened in 1869 and over 83,000 burials have taken place since then. In present times, the position of the Cemetery means it has become a busy thoroughfare from Barons Court Tube to Charing Cross Hospital, and has a very active Friends Group. A focus on increasing biodiversity is proving popular to a variety of visitors - the cemetery’s rich variety of trees attracts at least 25 species of bird, including the great spotted woodpecker, the long tailed tit and the goldfinch.
Frank Banfield Park in Hammersmith has also seen major transformation recently and was officially reopened in October 2008. It was once a blighted underused space to what is now a pleasant destination for all. It boasts a brand new children's play area, attractive new landscaping, improved railings and gates and new benches.
The park, a popular cut-through for residents and workers, is named after a former Mayor and Alderman of the borough.
Ravenscourt Park in the heart of Hammersmith is a scenic green space with tennis courts, basketball court, bowling green, lake and a cafe. Beyond the cafe and by the entrance to Paddenswick Road a beautiful walled rose garden is tucked away. The refurbished and improved outdoor basketball and netball courts are one of West London’s most visible legacy of the London Olympic Games.
St Peter’s Square in Hammersmith is one of the smallest, but one of the most historically significant, open spaces in the borough. It is the only Grade II listed public open space in the borough by English Heritage