Our Green and Pleasant City

By on 19/08/2013 in Blog

Head of Parks, Darren Share, talks about how his team contribute to the wellbeing  of everyone in the city:

Our beautiful parks and floral displays are so important to the quality of life for residents, visitors to the city and businesses. We have 591 parks and green open spaces across Birmingham; equivalent to 3,376 hectares that forms part of the city’s publicly accessible open spaces. We strive for excellence and this is demonstrated by our continued commitment in meeting Green Flag standards, with Eleven Green Flag award-winning parks, including our latest successful addition with Selly Oak Park.

Allotments are also vital to the wellbeing of many Birmingham people; the city has the largest provision of allotments of any local authority in the UK with 115 sites and nearly 7,600 plots.

Of course, like every other part of the council, we have less money to spend these days and it’s more important than ever that we work in partnership with other organisations. In fact many of the floral displays we enjoy in local shopping centres and in the city centre are paid for by our Business Improvement Districts or by local shops.

The city is renowned across the world for our Gold medals in shows such as the Chelsea Flower Show and our success in Britain in Bloom. This year the city is also representing United Kingdom  in the Entente Florale competition, the ‘Eurovision’ of horticultural and environmental achievement, with the result to be announced next month.

As well as being a fantastic boost for people across the city, our participation in these events is vital as Birmingham competes against other UK cities for investment, business relocation, retail customers and tourism. Our success in these competitions significantly raises the profile of the city and is essential to the city being seen as a UK destination and continuing to attract visitors from all over the UK and Europe.

Chelsea is also another example where sponsorship is used to recover any council expenditure.

I never cease to be amazed at the variety of what we do in the city. From managing livestock in Sutton Park National Nature Reserve, to ensuring that anglers have the facilities they need or escorting European judges from the Entente Florale competition around the city’s fantastic places of beauty and interest as we did last month, every day brings a different set of exciting challenges.

So it’s clear that we’re not just about flowers! Our service plays a vital role in making the public realm across the city a place that we can all be proud of and enjoy. By making Birmingham a welcoming, attractive environment we help to attract tourism, investment, boost the economy, support the environment and improve the quality of life for everyone in the city.

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