Blooming marvellous results for Darlington
Darlington’s return to the Northumbria in Bloom competition has seen the town win a silver gilt award.
Volunteers and businesses joined forces with the council’s horticulture and Street Scene teams to add floral displays to the town centre and green spaces and keep the area looking its best throughout the summer period.
A number of hanging baskets and planters were sponsored by businesses, while volunteers from Darlington Cares helped to spruce up the town centre by painting benches.
The judges, who visited the town twice as part of their assessments, were also taken to see the Gerald Lee pocket park, created by members of the South Terrace Residents Association and Guerilla Gardeners Darlington Division, which lies under an advertising hoarding off the Feethams roundabout.
Four of the parks close to the town centre, including South Park, were also included in the judging, with Friends groups for each park working hard with Streetscene staff to plant and maintain bedding areas.
The town’s success in the ‘best city centre’ category was joined by excellent results for individual businesses which also went the extra mile to make Darlington look ‘blooming lovely’.
The Tapas Bar, on Bondgate, which went the extra mile with hanging baskets and flower displays around its outdoor seating area, was rewarded with a gold award in the pubs and hotels category.
James Buxton, general manager at The Tapas Bar, said: “We took part to help promote the town and keep it moving forward for the future. We’ve always looked to make our outdoor space look as good as it can and flowers are a nice addition for everyone in the town.
“It’s been an absolute pleasure working with the guys in the council to be part of the competition.”
Also recognised was the Atisha Kademapa Buddhist Centre, on Victoria Road, which was awarded a silver gilt in the religious establishments category for its community garden on a patch of land next to the Feethams roundabout, while the team at Hash Bar and Kitchen, on Coniscliffe Road, received a silver award as a commercial premises.
Councillor Nick Wallis, cabinet member for leisure and local environment, said: “This is an excellent result for the town and its businesses – huge thanks must go to the army of volunteers and business owners who worked with our Streetscene team to get the town centre looking lovely this summer.
“Returning the floral displays to the town centre, as well as additional street cleaning and reviving the Cascade water feature, has been one way to show our support for the town and make it an attractive place to visit and enjoy.
“We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from residents and it’s great to see that backed up with this silver gilt award.
PICTURE CAPTION: (from left) Chelsea Johnson, Darlington Cares programme officer; Mark Riddle, DBC nursery and horticulture manager; Seth Pearson, director of Darlington Partnership; Rebecca Poad and Jay Whitehouse, The Tapas Bar; Marion Ogle, town centre manager; Andy Gotts, gardener; Peter Cresser, street cleaning; Jill Matthews, Streetscene cleansing manager; Kelsang Dragden, the Buddhist Centre and Jasmin Robson, Hash Bar and Kitchen