Alleyway takes blooming top spot for the 5th year

A ben and flowerpots in an alleyway.
The winning alleyway on Shaftesbury Avenue.

Published: 26 August 2022

The winners of the 15th ‘Alleyways in Bloom’ annual competition have been announced as residents in Littleborough celebrate once again.

The competition, run by Rochdale Borough Council, encourages households who have burglary reduction alleygates installed to share how they have transformed their alleyways into a blossoming and valued space.

Reigning champions, residents of Shaftesbury Avenue in Smithy Bridge, took the judge’s vote for the 5th year running, receiving the first prize of a £50 Bowlee Garden Centre voucher.

Richard Simpson, with neighbours on Shaftesbury Avenue, has created a beautiful tranquil space adorned with bursts of colour, which is the perfect spot to sit and enjoy a cup of tea.

Richard said: “We’re so pleased that our alleyway has maintained its winning streak. A huge thanks to residents here on Shaftesbury Avenue who work hard all year round to maintain and enhance the alleyway for everyone to enjoy.

“Our shared, safe space is just wonderful and gives us all something to be proud of.”

An alleyway lined with planted flowers.

The runner-up alleyway on Manchester Old Road.

The runner-up prize of a £25 Bowlee Garden Centre voucher went to a delightful budding new entry for residents on Manchester Old Road in Middleton.

Wendy Dixon joined together with neighbours on Manchester Old Road to enter for the first time after gates were installed earlier this year.

Wendy said: “The installation of the gates has allowed us to create a private, safe space to get together for a quiet drink or watch children play in a pleasant, secure environment, which includes lots of new plants and a pergola. We’ve even included a communal water butt to store rainwater for the plants.

“Our voucher has allowed us to buy 2 rose bushes and strawberry plants, and we’re looking forward to seeing how the alleyway can continue to transform over time.”

Another entry that caught the judge’s eye, just missing out on a prize was an entry from residents on Bury New Road in Heywood. The judge praised them for their hard work, changing their alley into a lovely, welcoming space. 

Councillor Sue Smith, cabinet member for communities and cooperation, said: “I’m so pleased this competition is still going strong, and how wonderful it is to see new entries this year. The gates are designed to prevent burglary, but as we can see can spark so much more than that.  Residents are clubbing together after difficult times to create a little piece of oasis outside their back door.”

“We hope after seeing new entries this year that more will take part in 2023.”

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 homeowners at both ends of back alleyways that have experienced or are at risk of crime.

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

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