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Blooming lovely gated alleyway is pick of the bunch

19 August 2021

The winning alleyway in Shaftesbury Avenue.

The winners of the 14th 'Alleyways in Bloom' annual competition have been announced as residents celebrate another community success.

Run by Rochdale Borough Council, the competition which received increased entries this year asks residents who have burglary reduction alley gates installed to share how they have transformed their alleyways into a blooming delightful space.

Reigning champions, residents of Shaftesbury Avenue in Smithy Bridge took the judge's vote for the fourth year running, receiving the first prize of a £50 Bowlee Garden Nursery voucher.

Seats in the winning alleyway at Shaftesbury Avenue. 

Richard Simpson, along with neighbours on Shaftesbury Avenue has created a beautiful tranquil space for residents to sit and enjoy, even adding additional features including recycled old tyres as planters. 

Richard said: "Residents are thrilled to have won the competition again. We have added even more this year, yet we've still managed to create a welcoming colourful space for neighbours to come together for a cup of tea or a glass of wine.

"It's the perfect way to enhance our neighbourhood, while giving us all a positive focus in a space where we feel safe and secure."

The runner-up alleyway at Edenfield Road.

The runner-up prize of a £25 Bowlee Garden Nursery voucher went to residents of Edenfield Road in Norden, who have also won the competition previously. 

Green-fingered residents Bernice Clark and Sue Thomas have been maintaining and enhancing the alleyway in Norden for many years making a huge impact in a small space.

Bernice added: "Sue and I, along with neighbours have spent a lot of time updating our gated communal area, which is great for boosting everyone's mood, providing an inviting secure space to let imaginations run wild. 

"We often get a lot of positive comments from local residents walking by, which spurs us on to do more. We take pride in our alleyway and love to do our bit for the neighbourhood." 

The alleygating scheme, run by the council aims to reduce the opportunity for burglary; antisocial behaviour; malicious fires and fly-tipping by installing lockable steel gates at no cost to home owners at both ends of back alleyways, that have experienced or are at risk of crime.

Councillor Susan Smith, Rochdale Borough Council's cabinet member for communities and co-operation, said: "Gated alleyways are not just for preventing burglary, they can bring communities together to create a shared vision and provide a safe haven for neighbours to get together and children to play safely.

"It has been wonderful to see such blooming delightful entries and seeing ideas flourish. We hope to see even more entries next year." 

More than 600 schemes are in place across the borough and funding is available for new gates to be installed.