Belper scoops gold at In Bloom competition

Belper townsfolk are celebrating after winning the gold award for the best large town in the East Midlands Britain in Bloom competition.

The win means that Belper - which also won in the category - is now in competition for the national Britain in Bloom contest, which is set to be announced on October 6 at St Peter Port, Guernsey.

Town councillors have paid tribute to hard work of local people whose efforts secured the victory.

Cllr Alan Cox said: “It’s fantastic! It gives us a bit of hope for the Britain in Bloom competition.

“This is three years running and it shows how much the community does in the town.

“The people of Belper came together to win this award.”

Deputy Mayor cllr Deborah Biss said: “I would like to thank everyone in the town and everyone who works for the town council for their efforts. It’s been a long-fought victory - it’s taken years.

“We would like to thank cllr John Nelson. He has been one of the quiet forces behind the Belper in Bloom campaign.

“The Friends of Belper Parks have made a recent addition with the wild flower meadow and borders in the Coppice car park. I think it’s been a valuable addition.”

Belper won the Large Town category, which is for places with a population of between 12,001 and 35,000.

Judges descended on the town on Wednesday, July 13, and spent two and a half hours inspecting hanging baskets, tubs and public places.

The council’s July meeting was even cut short so that councillors could help with a last-minute spruce up.

The council appealed to residents to keep areas in front of homes free of litter, tidy front gardens, plant a tub or hanging basket, chat to judges, and report any unsightly areas to the town council.

Jeff Bates, Chair of East Midlands in Bloom says: “This year the grey skies and prolonged periods of heavy rain caused a number of problems to Bloom groups.

“Regardless of the weather, high standards were still maintained and there were lots of excellent examples showing communities working together to bring long lasting improvements to their area.”

The Wyver Lane Nature Reserve also won a Judges award.

Belper beat off stiff competition from the likes of Market Harborough, Spalding, Sleaford and Ilkeston.

Special Awards were also presented to communities to highlight outstanding achievements in cleanliness, conservation, horticultural excellence, the best front garden, best school garden and business premise.

The competition is organised by volunteers and various categories are sponsored by East Midlands based businesses that provide support the competition.

Organisers say that a number of new communities have already shown keen interest in the 2013 competition.

Nottingham scooped the gold award in the large city category, while Barton in Fabis, Nottinghamshire, won  the small village category at the other end of the spectrum.