Headlines: October 1st, 2009

Nottingham City Council has won a top award for the quality of its parks and open spaces in the first year that it has entered the Green Pennant scheme. The city has taken the Best Parks, Grounds and Horticultural Service Team of the Year award presented by the Association for Public Service Excellence. The prize follows the city gaining Green Flags for 11 of its parks and for five of its open spaces.

The award winning team is also responsible for Nottingham’s success in Britain in Bloom and which was for the first time invited by the Royal Horticultural Society to compete in the prestigious ‘Champion of Champions’ competition in recognition of its excellent achievements and winning that title.

The success follows two years in which the authority’s Breathing Space Strategy has seen big improvements in public spaces. The councils said the keys to its success had been the support of local people working with the Parks and Open Spaces team and the establishment of a Park Ranger working with schools and the local community on educational and environmental projects. This has included stewarding of parks, the development of 29 new playgrounds and a 300,000-pound council investment in allotments to improve security and to meet the demand for new plots.

The city council’s portfolio holder for Leisure, Culture and Customers, Dave Trimble, said: “People are surprised to discover that, despite Nottingham’s tight urban boundary, more than 20 per cent of the City’s total land area is made up of accessible open and green spaces that have a huge role to play in the health of the city.”