Green Flag success for Sandwell
Published on 17th July 2012
Sandwell has notched up a record number of Green Flag parks and green spaces this year - including the first crematorium in the Midlands to receive the status.
Six council-run parks, one in each of the borough's towns now boasts the prestigious award - the first time this has happened.
They are Barnford Park in Oldbury, Haden Hill Park in Cradley Heath, Victoria Park in Smethwick, Victoria Park in Tipton, Sandwell Valley in West Bromwich and Brunswick Park in Wednesbury.
The latter was entered for the first time this year.
Community-run Warley Woods, which was voted top Green Flag park in England in a public poll last year, has retained its Green Flag.
Meanwhile, council-run Tipton Cemetery retains its status and Sandwell Valley Crematorium, West Bromwich, has gained a Green Flag for the first time following a major £3.25 million refurbishment. This is the first crematorium to achieve such an award in the Midlands.
Moorlands Allotments, West Bromwich/Wednesbury, and Barnford Park & Farm Road Allotments have kept their status, and Dingley Road Allotments, Wednesbury, has also now earned a Green Flag.
Sandwell Council's cabinet member for neighbourhood services Councillor Ian Jones said: "I am tremendously proud to have a Green Flag in each of the six towns, with 12 flags in total now across the borough.
"It's not the quantity of open spaces but the quality that matters - and this shows we now have a large number of high quality green spaces with work ongoing to improve others too.
"Friends groups and volunteers have given us massive support and helped in lots of ways, from organising events to providing additional information to support the Green Flag judging.
"Community payback teams have also worked in all the parks to clear overgrown areas and give us a boost on top of our grounds maintenance schedule.
"The council's partner Serco has also ensured the parks are kept clean on a regular basis.
"Friends groups have also brought in money from outside with successful applications for outdoor gym equipment, supported by the council."
Councillor Mahboob Hussain, Sandwell Council's deputy leader and cabinet member for service improvement, said: "For a number of years we have put significant investment into our cemeteries and crematoriums - with current plans in place to improve Rowley Regis Crematorium.
"It's great news that Sandwell Valley Crematorium is the first in the Midlands to receive a Green Flag - and follows on from Tipton Cemetery being the first cemetery in the Midlands to achieve the status last year."
The prestigious Green Flag is the national standard for parks and green spaces that are welcoming, safe and well-maintained with strong community involvement.
The awards come despite pressures on the parks and bereavement budgets as the council seeks to save millions of pounds.