POOLE Park has been awarded a prestigious national accolade in recognition of its beauty, cleanliness and engagement with residents.

Along with Hamworthy Park and Upton Country Park, the town has received three Green Flag Awards for 2014 – a sign to visitors that the parks have the highest possible standards, are beautifully maintained and have excellent facilities.

Each park entered into the award is judged against a strict set of criteria which include cleanliness, health, safety and security, conservation and heritage, and how welcoming the parks are to visitors.

Cllr Xena Dion, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for a Prosperous and Sustainable Poole, said that the seventh award for Poole Park could not come at a better time.

She said: “The council and the Friends of Poole Park will soon be submitting a £2.5million bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to help deliver a range of enhancements in the park.

“The HLF require the parks that they fund to maintain Green Flag standards for around 10 years, so this award is vital to the success of our Poole Park Life project.”

She added that high quality green spaces make a huge difference to people’s quality of life and described them as ‘vital’ to a happy and healthy lifestyle for everyone in the community.

“We are immensely proud that Poole, Hamworthy and Upton have once again maintained their high standards.”

It is the ninth Green Flag Award for Upton Country Park and the fifth for Hamworthy Park.

The annual Green Flag Award scheme is run by Keep Britain Tidy on behalf of the Department for Communities and the Local Government.

Top garden awards won

BOURNEMOUTH has won a record number of prestigious Green Flag awards this year for its parks and gardens.

Queens Park has become the latest addition to Bournemouth’s tally, which now stands at 15, placing the town eighth on the list for all local authorities in the UK.

The award, granted through the environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, recognises and rewards the best parks and green spaces across the country.