Worden Park remains to be the only green space in the country north of London to have earned a Green Flag for 18 consecutive years since the scheme began.
Three of South Ribble’s parks have this week retained their Green Flag statuses, hot on the heels of the announcement of a major new park for the area.
South Ribble Council has revealed that Leyland’s Worden Park, Penwortham’s Hurst Grange Park and Longton Brickcroft Nature Reserve have again secured the awards, which means they remain officially among the best open spaces in the country.
It follows the unveiling of plans by the council earlier in the year to create ‘Central Park’ as part of its 40th anniversary celebrations.
Central Park is planned to run through parts of Lostock Hall and Bamber Bridge towards the River Ribble, and the council is aiming for it to be completed within 15 years.
Meanwhile, Longton Brickcroft is receiving the award for its 17th year in a row, and Hurst Grange Park has achieved this status every year since 2005.
The council regularly maintains and invests in its parks, supported by active friends groups who give up their free time to improve their local green spaces.
Work is currently underway on each of these parks, as well as others right across South Ribble, as part of a £600,000 investment in infrastructure improvements over the next four years.
Each of the Green Flag-winning parks will see footpaths refurbished and drainage issues addressed by the end of the autumn, while visitors to Worden Park will also benefit from a new all-weather overflow car park.
Other projects will take place within the next year at Withy Grove Park in Bamber Bridge, Farington Park and Gregson Green.
Coun Margaret Smith, leader of the council, said: “While other councils, particularly in the North West, are cutting back on park and leisure provision, we’re driving up standards by investing more than ever before.
“At a time when we’re talking about ensuring there are jobs, homes and facilities for our growing population, it’s vitally important that we not only protect, but enhance South Ribble’s green and rural nature by continuing to invest in our wonderful open spaces.
“These awards are again a testament to all the hard work and dedication of our staff and volunteers.”