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Saturday, 23 August 2014

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No Green Flags for Copeland's parks

THE latest casualty of Copeland’s budget cuts is the loss of status for its green spaces.

After 10 years of winning Green Flag awards for its parks and gardens, the borough has not won any this year... because it couldn’t afford to enter.

Allerdale won two (for Silloth Green and the grounds of Workington Hall) and Carlisle City Council got four. Eden won two.

Last year Copeland gave itself a pat on the back for “a fantastic achievement” when it retained its four Green Flag awards for having some of the best community spaces in the country. The flags were flown with pride at Egremont Castle and grounds, Trinity Gardens, St Nicholas’ Gardens and Distington Hall crematorium which were assessed as being “well maintained, well managed, with excellent facilities.” They were also given Green Heritage Site accreditation.

Each year, high standards have to be achieved to win or keep the Flags in the contest, administered by the Tidy Britain Group. Last year there were warnings from the council that it was getting harder to keep the awards in the light of public sector funding cuts.

A spokeswoman for Copeland said yesterday: “We did not enter the Green Flag awards this year because we did not have the resources for it. Like a lot of other non-statutory things, it became a victim of the government’s 30 per cent cut to our funding. It costs a total of £1,200 to enter these awards, and considerable staff resources from a diminished team. It would not be realistic to continue with this spending when we are having to cut other areas.

“We think we have some great parks in Copeland and our parks staff work hard to maintain them as far as budgets will allow.”

Green Flag and Cumbria in Bloom entries at Copeland were previously driven by its former parks and green spaces manager Toni Magean and landscape officer Richard Mellor. Mr Mellor moved to York in 2011 and Mr Magean, having been made redundant by Copeland, now works for Allerdale Council. There have also been other reductions in staff numbers.

This year is the last that Copeland Council will look after St Nicholas Gardens as its current five-year lease with the church runs out. Winter bedding plantings have ceased and grass cutting has been reduced.

Have your say

I must say it is a great shame to lose the hard work and years of community/friends group building between Copeland and the people of Whitehaven but this was inevitable. I miss the people I worked so closely with in achieving the special recognition the parks and gardens deserve and hope one day there is a change in government which will see pride restored to these symbolic areas of rest, relaxation and enjoyment.

Posted by Richard Mellor on 15 November 2013 at 20:18

Above comment by 'David Scameron': "How can this be?"
1. If you have the confidence that no matter what you do, or don't do, you will be voted in again and again and again, then why do anything (positive) at all? It's about seperating out what matters and what doesn't matter, ie pay rise matters, you and I don't matter.
2. If you have an autocratic manner and your, yes, your, inner circle of councillors are afraid to speak out in case they loose their portfolios, then there can be no checks and balances in order that true democratic processes may be demonstrably in view. From my point of view in this matter: councillors are equally as culpable, equally as negligent, as the leader of the council. Councillors are, seemingly, voted in to represent the views of the people who voted them in, not to cowtow to the leader of the council without objecting to, well, anything really, whether in the best interests of the people who voted them in, or not. A wild guess: do councillors who have portfolios, probably with grand sounding titles, receive more money than councillors who don't? "Silence is golden", in more ways than one it will seem. Ahhh, the great motivator.
3. Lack of vision.
4. Lack of drive.
5. Stuck in the early Labour movements idealogical formative years of struggle and strife although Mr. Ed and Mr. Ed are initiating a seismic shift in thinking that would have Keir Hardy turning in his grave.
I stop here 'David'. There are many more however Christmas will soon be upon us.
NB I am a non-political person with no affiliation to any party whatsoever. What I am though, is a free-thinking person who has viewed the demise of our historically rich and proud town, that once was.

Posted by Observer on 6 August 2013 at 19:01

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