With Sutton Coldfield entering the prestigious Heart of England in Bloom competition, voluntary group representatives joined members of the Town Council and sponsors at New Hall Hotel and Spa for the official launch.
Councillor Terry Wood, Chairman of the Sutton Coldfield in Bloom working group, outlined the process for entering the competition and the progress made in preparing for the judging which takes place on one day in July.
Following the presentation guests planted a number of trees at New Hall Mill to mark the occasion.
The Heart of England in Bloom judges will visit Sutton Park as well as viewing a popular allotment site, a school garden, New Hall Mill and New Hall Valley along with local shops and businesses.
It’s not just about flowers however, and although the town will have its own floral colour palette, the judges will look at evidence of environmental responsibility, recycling and general cleanliness of the town.
The working group is leading on a series of projects to improve the town’s less cared for local spaces as well as developing new features which will impress the judges and improve the quality of life for residents. These were identified in a report to the Amenities, Leisure and Community Services Committee in January.
Proposals for the special floral feature category of In Bloom
Vesey Gardens – 3D feature* on entrance to the garden as the only floral focal point of the town. Two flower towers and additional containers to be added where possible to compliment the new planting scheme at the gardens – Budget (Indicative costs) £6,500.
Town Gate (location to be confirmed) – A themed carpet bed feature to be introduced in a prime location. Possibly “Sutton Coldfield in Bloom 2018” with a stag/ scenery background – Budget (Indicative costs) £135 per m2 3m x 4m = £1620 (Awaiting costing for creating a raised bed, maintenance and watering).
Enhancement and proposals
Garden behind the United Reform Church – Two planters with summer floral bedding to brighten up the area. Two planters with herbs for church kitchen to use. Landscaping of walled bed and vertical wall of grasses/herbs/bedding. Interpretation board erected on site to act as starting location for the heritage trail. Church and community groups to support via clean up day at this site – Budget (Indicative costs) £5,000
Garden below Gate Inn Pub – Design being worked up to enhance and add colour to this small area in a prime town centre location Budget (Indicative costs) £3,000
Town Centre Railway Station – Working with the new franchisee, local residents and community groups to create a welcoming display for visitors to the town – Budget (Indicative costs) £600.
The above projects will be funded from the Britain in Bloom budget of £50,000 approved by the Committee.
Leader of Sutton Coldfield Town Council Councillor Simon Ward said:
“This is the first time the town has entered Heart of England in Bloom and we think it will provide a wonderful opportunity to showcase some of the Town’s hidden environmental and horticultural gems. Entering the competition is also a great opportunity to promote the town at a regional and national level. There are already over 200 entries in the Midlands who have realised the benefits of getting involved in Bloom.”
Andrew Mitchell MP said:
“This is a brilliant Royal Town initiative and I congratulate Councillor Terry Wood and Councillor Simon Ward, the leader of the Town Council, for putting it together. The launch last weekend was incredibly successful and I thank the New Hall Hotel for sponsoring and facilitating this.”
Jonathan Squires of New Hall Hotel and Spa said:
“I am really pleased to be supporting the first ever Sutton Coldfield in Bloom entry and hosting the launch event to kick start the Bloom project. There are so many enthusiastic groups and individuals here today who are getting involved which is great to see. I’m looking forward to seeing all the new initiatives and projects taking shape over the course of the year, to help make Sutton Coldfield more welcoming to visitors and attractive to residents.”
Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council is looking for the community, including residents and businesses to get involved in a variety of ways. This could include organising local litter picks, planting beautiful pots and containers, organising displays outside their business or even sponsoring a floral feature for the town to enjoy.
Assistant Town Clerk Becki Leonard is keen to hear from residents about any projects and events that they are organising in support of the Bloom competition.
Heart of England in Bloom is the regional element of Britain In Bloom, a nationwide gardening competition run by the RHS and which has been keeping our towns and cities in bloom since 1963.
For more about Britain in Bloom visit www.rhs.org.uk/get-involved/britain-in-bloom
More information on Sutton Coldfield in Bloom can be found at www.suttoncoldfieldtowncouncil.gov.uk/bloom