Bluewater Shopping Centre (Nature Trail) is one of a record-breaking 1,797 UK parks and green spaces to get Green Flag awards this year.
The shopping centre in Greenhithe, Kent, is surrounded by 20 hectares of landscaped parkland, which has been maintained by Gavin Jones since 2004. It includes seven lakes, footpaths, cycle routes, picnic and play areas and a nature trail and is managed by Incentive FM.
The Gavin Jones team at Bluewater covers maintenance of beds and borders, trimming of hedges, sight lines, herbicide applications to hard and soft surfaces, leaf clearance as well as looking after four hectares of wildflower meadows and one million trees.
Gavin Jones’ Bluewater contract manager Scott Painter said: "We are absolutely delighted to receive a Green Flag Award for 2017/18. The whole team have been working hard to achieve this all year, it’s a true credit to the work they do on the ground.
"We know how much quality green spaces matter to residents and visitors, and this award celebrates the dedication that goes into maintaining Bluewater Shopping Centre (Nature Trail) to such a high standard."
The 97-hectare Bluewater site was Europe’s largest retail and leisure complex when it opened in March 1999 on the site of a former chalk quarry and took several years to build. Planning permission for the development was given in 1990 by the then Enviornment Secretary and Haymarket Media founder Michael Heseltine. It is owned by four major UK institutions: Prudential (35%), Landsec (30%), the Lend Lease Retail Partnership (25%) and Hermes (10%) and is managed overall by Land Securities, the largest commercial property company in the UK.
It has 300 stores, more than 50 bars, restaurants and cafes along with 13,000 free car parking spaces attracting millions of visitors per annum.