Cherwell comes out smelling of roses as district scoops a bouquet of awards

Banbury, Bicester and Kidlington have all been praised for their entries in this year’s regional Britain in Bloom competition.

Published: Tuesday, 1st October 2019

At the Thames and Chiltern awards ceremony held on Tuesday (24 September) each was presented with a ‘silver gilt’ award, as well as being recognised for specific areas of excellence.

Experts from The Royal Horticultural Society visited the towns and village earlier this summer and were given guided tours of the main centres as well seeing some fantastic work carried out by community group volunteers.

While touring Banbury, the judges noted the “vibrancy of colour …well cared for environments and fascinating history” as well as the “strong sense of identity [which] comes across with local heritage being used as a backdrop for many exciting floral displays.”

The experts added: “Banbury in Bloom is a true community effort with the town and district councils, their contractors, the new Business Improvement District and the community working together … to enhance and improve the town centre and its green spaces for the benefit of all.”

Banbury picked up the Regional Award for Heritage as well as overall winner of the Town Centre category. 

When visiting Bicester, the judges commented: “Bicester is a thriving and vibrant place undergoing considerable change, but the Councils and their partners are seizing opportunities to make significant and lasting improvements to the town”.

They added: “The commitment to health and wellbeing of local residents, and to creating a cleaner and greener environment, is notable.”

In addition, Bicester was given the Regional Award for Horticulture, with judges highlighting the innovative and creative planting on show at Bicester Village.

Kidlington was commended for its “large, colourful floral displays” as well as the “impressive Jubilee Nature Reserve …. awash with colourful butterflies … wildflowers and shrubs” as well as mentioning the pleasing welcome Rosie the Elephant gives visitors, coming into town from the southern end of the village.

Kidlington was presented with the Regional Award for Pride of Place with the judges noting it was “very clean and tidy throughout”.

Cherwell’s lead member for clean and green, Cllr Dan Sames said: “Everyone involved in ensuring Cherwell’s looking at its best should be extremely proud of these results. They show the importance of presenting our urban areas as bright, welcoming places. With just three points separating Banbury, Bicester and Kidlington it shows that there is a consistent standard across the District. The Silver Gilt award for all three main centres shows how extremely well looked after they are.”

Cllr Sames added: “It is important to keep our public areas in the urban centres well maintained and clean to ensure that they are welcoming and attractive places for residents and visitors alike.”

Both Bicester and Banbury entries were led by Cherwell District Council’s Landscape and Cleansing teams, with support from Banbury and Bicester Town Councils, Continental Landscapes Ltd, local business support and a range of community partners. Kidlington’s entry received similar support but was led by the Parish Council.

Cherwell District Council is still awaiting the results of the national judging, with Bicester representing the Cherwell in Bloom entry. They will be announced at a prestigious awards ceremony in London on 25 October 2019.