Iconic St Albans Park loses international green space recognition following maintenance issues

PUBLISHED: 11:22 08 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:22 08 October 2018

Clarence Park pavilion. Picture: Andy Saunders.

Clarence Park pavilion. Picture: Andy Saunders.


An iconic St Albans park has lost its mark of international quality because general maintenance standards have dropped.

Clarence ParkClarence Park

For the first time since 2004, Clarence Park did not join numerous other public spaces around the district in receiving a Green Flag award.

Reasons sited include pothole-ridden footpaths, a dirty and broken water fountain, neglected soil, an overlooked sensory garden, and half-completed planting.

Judges thought the pavilion, although described as impressive, needed renovation.

They said the park is valuable and well-used but in need of a review of horticultural standards: “The staff we met were clearly working hard to make the park the best that it could be but there appeared to be a lack of sufficient resource to present the park to the standard that it deserves.

Groundkeepers house in Clarence ParkGroundkeepers house in Clarence Park

“It is a lovely park with a significant historical place in this community - both the park, and the staff who look after it, deserve better.”

Sites around the district which received the accolade include Harpenden Common, Lydekker Park, Rothamsted Park, Chiswell Green’s Greenwood Park, Cottonmill’s Sopwell Nunnery Green Space, Hatfield Road Cemetery, Bricket Wood Common, and Jersey Farm Woodland Park.

Additionally Verulamium Park was named a Green Heritage Site.

Portfolio holder for the environment for St Albans district council (SADC), Frances Leonard, said the result was unexpected: “The [Clarence Park Consultative Forum] was also surprised at the loss of the Green Flag as the park is generally regarded to be in very good condition.

“We have a Clarence Park Action Plan that is updated regularly and commits us to a number of exciting projects such as a planned revamp of the children’s play area.

“The park remains a very attractive and much loved amenity that is widely used by residents. We’re committed to keeping it in top condition by making continual improvements and hope to regain the Green Flag next year.”

SADC’s City Neighbourhood Committee manage the park.

The Green Flag mark is a 22-year-old international award given to any public space with high environmental standards, maintenance levels and visitor facilities.

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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