Five venues in Stafford Borough have been listed among the best parks and open spaces in the country.
For the first time Stone Cemetery has been awarded the ‘Green Flag’ – and now joins Victoria Park, Stonefield Park, the Crematorium in Stafford and the town’s Eccleshall Road Cemetery in achieving the honour.
Stone Cemetery was opened in 1903 and is the only Borough Council-owned site where people can have a woodland burial. Earlier this year visitors were able to have a guided tour of the unique woodland and burial areas as part of an open day.
The ‘Green Flag’ is the national yardstick for the best parks and open spaces in the UK.
It is the second year the 160 year old cemetery at Eccleshall Road in Stafford has achieved the award, with Stonefield Park celebrating a fourth success, and the Crematorium on Tixall Road and Victoria Park making it eight and 13 years of holding the ‘Flag’ respectively.
They are among a record-breaking 1,970 UK parks and green spaces, and 131 in thirteen other countries, that will receive the prestigious award.
Work begins next week on a £2.5million restoration of Victoria Park 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 Jonathan Price, Cabinet Member for Environment at the council, said: “It is great to welcome a fifth venue in our area to the ‘Green Flag’ club. We know how well the grounds of our parks and cemeteries are kept because our residents and visitors tell us – and they are our most important judges.
“But receiving national recognition for the work that we do is always pleasing – and a tremendous achievement for the cemetery at Stone to join the others who have once again been successful.”
He added: “Our community has been instrumental in helping us achieve this success – 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: “It’s fantastic that we have more Green Flag Awards in the UK than ever before, joined this year by 131 International winners.
“Each flag honours the thousands of staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to maintain the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award. We congratulate each and every winner on their fantastic achievement.”
Press Release No 5546