TWO green areas around Bognor Regis have again been named as among the UK’s finest.
Hotham Park and Marine Park Gardens have been awarded Green Flag status for 2014.
It is the sixth year in a row that Hotham Park and the fourth year Marine Park Gardens have kept their places among the country’s elite green spaces.
The national awards are handed out by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy to recognise and reward the best of the open sites.
The flags were raised again by Arun District Council chairman Cllr Dougal Maconachie last Thursday.
Cllr Maconachie told those at Hotham Park the occasion reminded him of the late 1990s and the efforts to win Heritage Lottery Fund backing for the park.
“Rosemary Warren (of the Hotham Park Heritage Trust) and my wife, Cllr Jacqueline Maconachie, were trying to get the bid together for the park 13 years ago.
“The difference in the park between then and now is wonderful. It really is.
“This Green Flag is well deserved. The open areas of the park are magnificent and the flowers are all wonderful. Let’s keep the Green Flag for another six years.”
The flags indicate a space is beautifully maintained and has top facilities all year round.
Sites for the award are judged against eight key criteria. These include the cleanliness and maintenance of the space, its conservation and heritage and how welcoming it is.
It also looks at the facilities provided, such as cafes, toilets and play areas.
Hotham Park Heritage Trust chairman Mrs Warren said: “The Green Flag is very important. It sets the standard for the park. I would agree with Cllr Maconachie.
“Now we have got it, we don’t want to lose it.
“We need to retain it. We are working hard to make sure that happens.”
The trust’s 75 members volunteer to help in the park to complement the work of Arun’s contractor, ISS Facility Services Landscaping.
Marine Park Gardens in Aldwick also has helpers who assist in the work in the seafront site.
Cllr Terence Chapman, Arun’s cabinet member for environmental services, said: “I would like to say a big thank you to the council officers, our contractors and the communities that support our parks for being so instrumental in ensuring they are recognised as the fantastic green spaces they are.”
Helen Wilson, Arun’s senior community parks officer, said: “Marine Park Gardens is an ornamental garden which is particularly enjoyed by older people who find it very accessible with its flat, smooth paths.
“There are an awful lot of bedding plants there, which are hard work. We have modified it over the years to make it more sustainable, but have still seen some good results.
“Dogs are banned, but the gardens are complemented by the neighbouring West Park.”
Both sites have a full-time and a seasonal gardener as well as temporary staff.