Judges needed to monitor park standards

Expanding Green Flag award scheme needs more judges

A plea has gone out for more judges for the Green Flag Award Scheme. The scheme, which sets the standard for parks and green spaces in England and Wales, has expanded so much that there are not enough judges to go round. The plea came from a current judge, Ian Gayton, parks and countryside manager at Reigate and Banstead Borough Council in Surrey. “We need to encourage more judges to come on to the scheme. You do not have to have a similar background to mine, in fact it helps if the judges are from different backgrounds,” he told delegates to the south of England and Wales awards ceremony at Southend in Essex last week. The minister with special responsibility for parks and gardens, Yvette Cooper was unable to attend so the keynote speech was given by the head of public spaces promotion and policy branch at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Tim Pope. “MORI polls show that people want parks. There are benefits to culture and health,” Pope said. Parks were often a “catalyst for regeneration”. People want to live nearby and they also attract businesses, which want to be close to an attractive area, he said. “We want everyone to have access to quality green spaces,” he added.

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