Tower Hamlets’ Victoria Park has been voted as one of the nation’s ‘People’s Choice’ parks, along with just nine other parks across the UK. More than 1,700 UK parks and green spaces flying a Green Flag Award were eligible for the People’s Choice award, voted for by the public, and managed by environmental charity, Keep Britain Tidy. It is the fourth time that Victoria Park, maintained by Tower Hamlets Council, has won the award, and the third consecutive win.
The largest and most visited park in East London, Victoria Park has over 4,000 trees, two large lakes, a boating pond, playgrounds, and sports facilities which include football, rugby, and cricket pitches, tennis courts, and a bowling green. The park also contains numerous heritage and listed features such as the Burdett-Coutts Fountain, the Dogs of Alcibiades statues, three listed canal bridges and two stone alcoves from the original London Bridge. It is home to a good variety of birds and other wildlife, including a large population of amphibians which breed in the lakes.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said: “I’m incredibly proud that Victoria Park has been crowned one of the nation’s favourite parks for the third year in a row. It’s an amazing achievement and we should congratulate all those who work to make Victoria Park such a wonderful local attraction, not least the many volunteers who have been involved in projects throughout the park this year. Victoria Park is a much loved and well used gem. This award, for the third year running, is a tremendous testament to all the hard work that goes into running the park and shows just how fondly local people appreciate this precious resource.”
Councillor Asma Begum, Cabinet member for Culture, added: “Yet again, it’s fantastic to see how much local people appreciate Victoria Park. We are fortunate to have such a wonderful open space here in Tower Hamlets, one that I would encourage everyone to enjoy. I’m sure it wouldn’t be such a well-loved park without the tireless work put in by the many volunteer groups who give their time freely to maintain many aspects of the park.”
International Green Flag Award Manager Paul Todd said: “We would like to congratulate Victoria Park on being voted one of the UK’s ten favourite parks – it is quite an achievement. Winning a Green Flag Award is testament to the hard work of local authorities and the managers of public green space up and down the country along with hundreds of thousands of volunteers. More than 1,700 parks this year are flying the Green Flag Award and the People’s Choice Award shows them just how much that hard work is appreciated by the public.”
In addition, Tower Hamlets has even more to celebrate when it comes to the borough’s open spaces, having recently picked up three accolades at the Britain in Bloom awards, including Silver Gilt awards for ‘Environmental Sustainability’ and ‘Horticultural Standards’ in the borough.
This followed from success in the London in Bloom awards, where the borough won a hatfull of awards, including retaining a Gold award in the City category, which Tower Hamlets won, beating five other boroughs. Victoria Park also won a Gold award in the best large park category. Other awards included the borough’s first London in Bloom success for a Heritage Site – a Silver Gilt for Trinity Square Gardens. There were further Silver Gilt awards for Canary Wharf in the best Town Centre category, and a brace for Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park in the best Conservation Project and Large Cemetery categories. Finally, Poplar Park picked up Silver for best Small Park.
Header photo: John Archer