26th October 2016 – 

COUNCIL chiefs have agreed to sink £100,000 into play areas and seek ‘Green Flag’ status for two treasured sites in a big boost for Worcester’s landscape.

The city council’s Labour leadership met last night to vote through both moves – revealing it wants Worcester to gain a UK reputation for having “the best parks in Britain”.

As the Worcester News first revealed last week, it means a new £60,000 playground will be created off Oldbury Road in St John’s, with the rest split between improving equipment at the King George V playing fields and in Medway Road.

The Labour cabinet also voted through a project to secure national recognition for the riverside and Fort Royal Park via ‘Green Flag’ status, placing them among the finest in the country.

During the meeting Cllr Jabba Riaz, cabinet member for clean, green and leisure services, said he wanted Worcester to be known as Britain’s finest city for its parks.

He also said a “pollinator-friendly corridor” was part of the plans to spruce up the riverside to effectively turn it into a park, which will form part of the official Green Flag bid.

“Worcester has been rated the second safest city in the UK, it’s been rated as one of the cleanest, and it’s been cited as having one of the best High Streets,”My aim is for Worcester to be known for having the best parks in the UK.”

Cllr Geoff Williams, cabinet member for economic prosperity and growth, said:

“This is a no-brainer, we’ve got the (Green Flag) status for others, we now need to work on these. These parks are major attractions and a real benefit to the city.”

At the moment Worcester’s Cripplegate and Gheluvelt parks both have ‘Green Flag’ status, which is the national benchmark for top quality open spaces.

The playground spending will mean the city’s St Clement area, which is part of St John’s, will no longer be the only council ward in Worcester without one.

During the cabinet meeting Conservative Cllr Chris Mitchell, who represents the area and lobbied for it four weeks ago, said Labour had pulled “a rabbit out the hat”, welcoming it.

The city council is launching a review into the maintenance of playgrounds to see if it needs to be improved.

Labour Cllr Adrian Gregson, the city’s leader, said:

“I think it’s important we reflect on the maintenance of our play areas, fundamentally it’s an issue all councils have wrestled with for years.”

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