The Drake’s Place Gardens and Reservoir at Plymouth University are to receive the prestigious Green Flag Award for the first time.
Reopened in June 2014, it is among 1,582 parks and green spaces – and 90 in the South West – to be awarded the accolade by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy.
Including parks, cemeteries, universities, shopping centres and community gardens, the award is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent facilities.
Drake’s Place Gardens and Reservoir was the subject of a £1.4 million restoration project completed with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Big Lottery Fund and the University, with support from the Friends of Drake’s Place Association.
The work, led by Cornwall Environmental Consultants Ltd and principal contractor Ryearch, saw a new entrance and level access from North Hill created, and the fountains in the reservoir reinstated along with the cascade and stream which run through the gardens. Listed features, such as the watch house, were restored, and the gardens replanted according to the original 1910 design.
Since the restoration, Drake’s Place has hosted numerous University and community events, and won the Best Public Space and People of Plymouth categories at the 2014 Abercrombie Awards.
Tracy Wilson, Partnerships and Community Engagement Manager at Plymouth University, said:
“Drake’s Place has a special place in the city’s heart, and it was always our ambition to reflect that within its restoration. Having worked over many months with local people and contractors, that has undoubtedly been achieved and it is amazing to now see it in regular use by both the University and wider community. This latest award is a continued vindication of our ambitious vision and we look forward to welcoming more people into Drake’s Place over the summer and beyond.”
The Green Flag Awards are judged by an army of more than 700 green-space experts, who volunteer their time to visit applicant sites and assess them against eight strict criteria, including horticultural standards, cleanliness, sustainability and community involvement.
The announcement of this year’s award winners comes in the same week that thousands of people up and down the country are getting ready for Love Parks Week (July 24 to August 2), an annual celebration of our country’s fantastic green spaces and the community groups that bring them to life.
International Green Flag Award scheme manager Paul Todd said: “We are delighted to be celebrating another record-breaking year for the Green Flag Award scheme. All the flags flying this year are a testament to the efforts of the thousands of men and women, both staff and volunteers, who work tirelessly to maintain the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award.”