A 160 year old cemetery in Stafford has been named one of the best open spaces in the country for the first time.
The Stafford Borough Council run cemetery on the town’s Eccleshall Road has been awarded a ‘Green Flag’ – the national yardstick for the best parks and open spaces.
The cemetery joins a hat-trick of other local venues to be awarded the ‘Flag’ – the crematorium and Victoria Park, both in Stafford, and Stonefield Park in Stone being the others. They are among a record-breaking 1,883 UK parks and green spaces that will receive the prestigious award.
It makes it a dozen years in a row for Victoria Park while the Crematorium on Tixall Road has won the award seven consecutive years with Stonefield Park celebrating its third success.
The cemetery on the town’s Eccleshall Road has around 12,000 graves dating back from its first burial in 1856. There are also plans to renovate two chapels on the site and these were opened to visitors as part of an ‘Information Day’ organised by the Friends of Stafford Cemeteries and Borough Council, in May.
Victoria Park will be undergoing a £2.5million restoration from September – a project that will see historic features such as the Bandstand and Mottram Shelter refurbished, improvements to the aviary, and a new catering facility on the site.
Stonefield Park, located in the heart of Stone, was opened by Sir Ernest Johnson in 1928. It boasts formal flowerbeds, tennis courts and a bowling green.
Councillor Frank Finlay, Cabinet Member for Environment and Health, at the Borough Council, said: “We know how well the grounds of our parks and cemeteries are kept because our residents and visitors tell us – and the public are our most important judges.
“But it is always pleasing to also get national recognition for the work that we do – and a tremendous achievement for the cemetery at Eccleshall Road to join the crematorium, Victoria Park and Stonefield Park who have once again been successful.”
He added: “These awards would not be possible without the great help from the community – especially the ‘Friends’ groups that support the work of the council at each of these sites.”
International Green Flag Award scheme manager Paul Todd said: “We are delighted to be celebrating another record-breaking year for the Green Flag Award scheme, with more Green Flags awarded this year than last year.”
“Each flag honours the thousands of staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to maintain the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award. We are proud to have so many wonderful green spaces in the UK for people to enjoy, and hope that next year, we award even more flags.”
Press Release 5457.