City parks due to be short listed for prestigious Royal approval

A number of parks in Edinburgh are due to be chosen to go forward for a very special award which will see them protected for more than a lifetime.

In the run up to Her Majesty the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, Fields in Trust (FIT) have asked the City of Edinburgh Council to come up with a short list of parks and greenspace which could be in line for a permanent living legacy. 

Now, 19 parks are due to be considered by Councillors and a short list of around 12 will be put forward to the public vote.

Residents will then be asked to vote for their favourite outdoor space from the list, which will give the city a winning chance of gaining the Royal seal of approval.

The purpose of the national scheme is to ensure that everyone has access to free, local, outdoor space for sport, play and recreation through the protection and improvement of playing fields.

Voting is due to commence later this year, with city parks up against competition from the rest of the UK.

The public will be able to vote for their favourite greenspace through a website set up by FIT.

When selecting the parks and greenspace for short listing the Council had to stick to strict criteria.

The many criteria included, disabled access, promotion of recreational space and making sure the sites are affordable and accessible for the local community.

Councillor Robert Aldridge, Environmental Leader, said: "Our reputation for our parks and greenspace can further be enhanced both in the UK and worldwide by winning this important Royal award. We are just about to compile a short list and we would urge the public to get behind our city parks and greenspace and make sure each vote counts. The city has an excellent reputation when it comes to our outdoor space and we want locals and visitors to enjoy our parks and greenspace and protect them for the future."  

Fields in Trust (FIT) was founded in 1925 as the National Playing Fields Association by King George V, who was dismayed by the poor sport and play facilities available to children.

Prince William has recently become Patron of the new campaign.

HRS Prince William, said: "The year 2012 marks the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and I cannot think of a more fitting tribute to my Grandmother's 60 glorious years on The Throne than to dedicate to The Queen this programme that will save playing fields for future generations.

The sad truth is that, over the years, thousands of playing fields have been lost to development, and many more are under threat today. For more than 80 years, the Fields in Trust charity has been working hard to combat this threat by protecting playing fields across the UK from development. There has never been greater need for their work."

Alison Moore Gwyn, Chief Executive of Fields in Trust said: "Fields in Trust's core vision is to ensure that everyone - whether they are young or old, able or disabled and no matter where they live - has access to outdoor space for sport, play and recreation. Access to these facilities is vital to ensuring our communities are robust and healthy - a health that is achieved not just through participating in physical activity but, equally importantly, by providing a sense of community cohesion."

Proposed parks under consideration for the final short list include:

West - Station Road Park

South West - Saughton Park, Hailes Quarry Park, Craiglockhart Woods, Colinton Mains Park, Gyle Park.

City Centre - London Road Gardens, Montgomery Street Park.

North - Victoria Park, Starbank Road, Ravelston Park, Ravelston Woods, Gypsy Brae.

South - Seven Acre Park, Morningside Park, Braidburn Valley Park, Hemitage of Braid & Blackford Hill.

East - Figgate Park, Rosefield Park.

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