READING has once again achieved silver gilt awards in the yearly Britain in Bloom competition.
For the first time, the town has won the accolade in two categories; the Thames & Chiltern City category and in the RHS Parks category, with a Silver Gilt award achieved for the first time by Henley Road Cemetery.
The Thames & Chiltern City award was achieved last year, but this year Reading received an even higher mark, with many very positive comments from the judges.
The most notable improvement was in local environmental quality in the town centre. The judges noted: “There is a great improvement in the lack of litter and overall cleanliness throughout the area visited. The Love Clean Reading programme is proving very effective in encouraging residents to look after their own communities particularly in the Conservation Areas.”
The report commented: “The floral displays in the town centre, over the bridges and outside pubs and other businesses provide a colourful backdrop to the whole area….. The management of trees throughout Reading is very impressive,” and “The quality of maintenance around parks and green spaces is of a high standard; verges throughout the Borough are well cared for.”
The judges noted Reading’s strong sense of pride in its heritage and consequently awarded Reading the Regional Heritage Award.
The judges also gave very positive feedback and comments about the horticultural displays and tidiness at Henley Road Cemetery. They praised council departments working together to achieve the displays “in this time of austerity”.
The sensitive and defined approach to displays within the site including borders, beds, baskets and shrubs was also praised: “We were very pleased with our visit to Henley Rd Cemetery, the site is obviously well used and is presented well by the team.”
They concluded this was “…a very good first entry which is reflected in the award attained. We look forward to the continuing improvements and hope that our colleagues will be visiting you in subsequent years.”
Cllr Liz Terry, Lead Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “This fantastic news for Reading and I’m delighted that the Council’s Love Clean Reading programme has been acknowledged by the judges for its positive impact on the town’s environment.”
Cllr Paul Gittings, Reading Lead Member for Culture, Sport and Consumer Services, said: “These awards are great achievements for Reading and something we should be very proud of. It would not have been possible without the dedication and commitment of many organisations and individuals. I’m particularly pleased to see Reading Cemetery gaining well deserved recognition for its impressive horticultural displays, which are testament to a successful joint effort between the parks and bereavement teams. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone involved.”
Reading in Bloom Chairman, Cllr Jeanette Skeats, said: “Reading in Bloom Committee are delighted at the recognition of hard work that has been put in by many people to keep Reading a beautiful and interesting place to live, visit and work.”
Notes to Editors
The annual Britain in Bloom competition is the largest horticultural event in Europe and attracts nearly 2,000 entries from cities, towns and villages across Britain.
The main aim of the competition is to encourage and celebrate local communities that strive to improve their local environment. Reading’s entry and bloom initiatives are undertaken in a partnership between Reading Borough Council and the voluntary Reading in Bloom organisation.
The judges visited Reading in July and were taken on a tour, looking at floral displays, environmental, educational and community programmes to the support Businesses put into making Reading a great place to live and visit. The tour included the Forbury gardens and the town centre’s displays, the RISC roof garden in London Street, the Ridgeline Trust in Whiteknights, Prospect Park in Tilehurst and ended in Caversham Court Gardens.