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Local residents triumph again for blooming alleyways

06 August 2020

A seating area with flowers.

The winners of the annual 'Alleyways in Bloom' competition have been announced.

The competition asked Rochdale borough residents who have burglary reduction alleygates installed behind their properties to come together with neighbours to improve their alleyway and enhance their neighbourhood.

First prize was awarded to residents of Shaftesbury Avenue in Smithy Bridge, who were chosen for the third year running. The competition, which is in its 13th year, awards the winners with a £50 Bowlee Garden Centre voucher.

Richard Simpson, of Shaftesbury Avenue, said: "Residents are thrilled to have won the competition again after making improvements to the alley and keeping up with maintenance. The alleygates add to making the residents feel safe and secure and has given us all something positive to focus on during lockdown. 

"All the residents have made a superb effort and this has allowed a safe space to come together and enjoy a glass of wine in the evening."

The runner-up prize of a £25 Bowlee Garden Centre voucher went to residents of Edenfield Road in Norden.

Residents Bernice Clark and Sue Thomas, who have won the competition previously, have been maintaining and enhancing their alleyway for many years. Sprucing up their gated communal area allows neighbours to enjoy having a chat and a cup of tea together. 

Bernice, said: "Sue and I, along with other residents have spent a lot of time over the last few months enjoying the space and have grown our own plants this year, including a beautiful fuchsia basket and sweet peas. Spending time here has proven very therapeutic over the years and we get a lot of positive comments from people passing on the street."

Councillor Janet Emsley, Rochdale Borough Council's cabinet member for neighbourhoods, community and culture, said: "The alleygating scheme's main purpose is to reduce burglary and antisocial nuisance behaviour, but this competition shows that they can be much more than that. The scheme provides the perfect opportunity to bring residents together to create a delightful shared space."

The alleygating scheme is run by Rochdale Borough Council and aims to reduce the opportunity for burglary, antisocial behaviour, malicious fires and fly-tipping by installing lockable steel gates at both ends of back alleyways.

There are currently 679 schemes across the borough and there is funding available for new schemes to be installed.