The historic Ventnor Park has won the prestigious Park of the Year Award at the South and South East England in Bloom Awards.
The awards ceremony took place at Ferneham Hall, Fareham and Ventnor Park was awarded a gold medal, beating competition from Kent, Surrey, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire and Dorset.
The council’s countryside, parks and open spaces manager, Nigel Leppard, together with the Island manager for the council’s grounds maintenance contractor John O’Conner Ltd, Stan Hayden, received the awards on behalf of the council. The park is maintained by John O’Conner Ltd via its partnership contract with the council.
The awards at the event were presented by South and South East England in Bloom chairman, Peter Holman and Jim Buttress from the BBC’s The Big Allotment Challenge.
The judge’s summing up comments from his visit this year to Ventnor Park, included “all in all this beautiful park, with its coastal setting and Victorian ambience is worthy of its ongoing Gold award status and all those associated with its care and maintenance should be congratulated.”
Executive member with responsibility for parks and open spaces, Councillor Paul Fuller, said:
“This is a magnificent achievement for Ventnor Park and the council’s parks in general. Ventnor Park was the only council maintained park entered into the competition this year, due to on-going budget constraints, which makes the award all the more special.
“It is great to see one of our parks being recognised in this way and is high praise indeed for the hard work that goes into making the park an award winning open space that visitors and residents alike can enjoy.”
The council’s countryside, parks and open spaces manager, Nigel Leppard, said:
“The council is delighted that Ventnor Park has been awarded this prestigious event and I would like to thank the people whose hard work keeps the park looking so good.
“In particular, I would like to thank our grounds maintenance contractor John O’Connor, who maintain the park and the support from Ventnor Putting Green, Ventnor Enhancement Fund and Ventnor Town Council, all of whom contribute to making the park the special place it is.”
Ventnor Park dates from the 19th century and covers an area of about 7 acres. It features landscaped grounds over a range of different levels, with mature trees, shrubs, herbaceous and bedding borders, a bandstand, a stream with gentle falls and water fowl, a putting green (under concession), and an adult outdoor exercise equipment area.