Nine parks and open spaces in Richmond are among the best in Britain - it’s official.

Radnor Gardens and Kneller Gardens, in Twickenham, were today awarded Green Flag status - the reward given to the top parks and open spaces in the country.

The winning parks must meet tough criteria, including cleanliness, safety and community involvement. The two latest green spaces to be rewarded join seven more parks with Green Flag status in the borough.

The borough had no parks with Green Flags in 2005 but in early 2006 a £5m improvement plan began.

The scheme is now complete and Twickenham Green, Hatherop Park, in Hampton, Palewell Common and Fields, in East Sheen. York House Gardens, in Twickenham, Terrace and Buccleuch Gardens, in Richmond, The Kings Field, in Hampton Wick, and Richmond Green now all hold the prestigious award.

Councillor Virginia Morris, Richmond Council cabinet member for environment, said: “Five years ago, our borough didn’t have a single Green Flag; now we have nine and we aim to break into double figures next year.

“This is a great achievement by, and on behalf of, local people.

“Our residents say we have the best parks in London and it is thanks to them and the friends groups who work with council that we have achieved such a fantastic result for the borough.”

Council funding has seen a natural play area installed at Kneller Gardens and a complete overhaul of the sports pavilion, while a programme of improvements including widening the footpaths in Radnor Gardens and upgrading park furniture with new bins and benches was due to start this week.

Councillor Martin Elengorn, Richmond Liberal Democrats’ environment spokesman, said: “I am glad our investment in the parks over our time in office has paid off so handsomely in terms of further Green Flag awards.

“I think the new Tory administration needs to make clear what level of investment it intends to put into our parks over the next four years, given the need for financial stringency.”

David Allister, Richmond Council head of parks, confirmed the funding had ended but a new open spaces strategy was being written and it was hoped it would deliver “cost effective ways” to maintain the current standards.