By Kevin Smith
Gardeners who help to put parks and open spaces around Bognor Regis among the country’s best have praised.
Employees of greenspace specialists Tivoli were thanked for their efforts at an annual update to Arun District Council.
Cllr Hugh Coster, chairman of the council’s overview select committee, said: “Congratulations for all you are doing, especially with the Green Flag awards. It is a tremendous effort.”
The work by Tivoli’s workers has taken five of the district’s open spaces to the UK’s top award for the areas. They include Hotham Park in Bognor Regis, Marine Park Gardens in Aldwick and Felpham’s Old Rectory Gardens.
Outside the meeting, Cllr Coster (I, Aldwick E) said: “Tivoli do a tremendous job, sometimes in difficult circumstances, such as the weather.
“Winning the Green Flags is all good news and I hope they go on to do a lot more good work.
“I understand it can never be perfect in the park when you are dealing with nature but, in general, our parks and open spaces are pretty good.”
Cllr Claire Needs (LD, Aldwick W) told the committee: “I would like to comment on what you do in Marine Park Gardens.
“I have the enjoyment of living right next to the gardens and looking over the gardens every day.”
Tivoli took over Arun’s greenspace management contract in summer 2018 after the company bought the previous provider, ISS, which had been awarded the 10-year contract at the start of
The deal’s annual value is about £1.25million a year and saves Arun some £250,000 annually compared to the previous one.
The contract covers some 500 parks and open spaces. They range from Hotham Park to council housing land.
Operations include grass cutting, litter picking, hedge cutting and grave digging.
Cllr Paul English (C, Felpham E) said he was disappointed with the state of the wildflower beds at Felpham and Butlin’s.
“The flower bed at the children’s play area as you come out of Felpham on to the main road looked great.
“People were putting it on social media and taking photos of it. But, last year, nothing was done and it all looked like a dead waste patch,” he said.
“It was the same at the Butlin’s roundabout. It looked incredible and then the following year and year after nothing happened to it and it all disintegrated. It seems like good work is done and it’s not carried on.”
Arun parks and cemeteries manager James Jones-McFarland said the First World War commemorative planting had finished in 2018 to account for the lack of wildflower plants.
“We trialled a lot of different seeds, with a lot of pollinating flowers,” he said.
“At some sites it didn’t work so well and at other sites it worked well. We now have a better understanding of what seed mixes work well in our flower beds.
“This year, if all works well, they will look as good as they have in previous years. But wildflower meadows can be variable.”
Cllr Faye Catterson (G, Arundel) called for an end to the use of the chemical, glyphosate, to kill weeds