News Archive

Parkie Comeback

by msecadm4921

The traditional park keeper is to make a comeback in central London.

Westminster City Council plans to reintroduce them across the borough, seeking to deter petty crime and anti-social behaviour.

According to the council, the ‘parkie’ used to be a regular sight in parks across the country where they kept an eye on potential trouble and ensured the area was clean and safe for children. But following budget cut backs and a decade of council competitive tendering, they were phased out by many local authorities in the 1990s.

What they say

Councillor Alan Bradley, Cabinet Member for Street Environment said: "The new dedicated security park wardens, will help reduce residents’ concerns regarding security and safety and be a point of reference for visitors to our sites. Although most people feel very safe in the public open spaces in Westminster and satisfaction levels with our parks are already very high amongst residents we are continually looking at ways to improve our parks and reduce the fear of crime. Westminster Council is taking the lead to ensure that safety and security does not just begin and end at the park gates."

Some 38 park keepers will patrol the 54 main parks in Westminster including Victoria Embankment Gardens – one of the borough’s award winning Green Flag parks – which has 500,000 visitors a year. One of their roles is to be a visible presence, forging links with the community and engaging with young people, and to challenge the perception that parks are dangerous places.
Westminster has awarded a new £18m contract to Continental Landscapes Limited to maintain all of the borough’s 109 parks for the next eight years. The contract started on April 1; and includes the management and administration of Westminster’s cemeteries which are all located outside the borough at Hanwell, East Finchley and Mill Hill.

About the wardens

The park wardens will wear a Westminster City Council park warden uniform which consists of a yellow ‘pilot’ shirt and black trousers. Parks where the wardens will patrol include Victoria Embankment Gardens, Paddington Recreation Ground, St George’s Square and St John’s Wood Stair Gardens. Security patrols between the parks will be made by bicycle where possible and all park vehicles will be powered by cleaner and more environmentally friendly fourth generation diesel, according to the local authority.

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