Gardening contest blooms back to life after council claimed it had been axed

Cllr Alison Hopkins (second left), Bernard Fitzpatrick (centre) and Campbell Gordon Estate residents

Cllr Alison Hopkins (second left), Bernard Fitzpatrick (centre) and Campbell Gordon Estate residents with last years Brent in Bloom award. - Credit: Archant

Brent in Bloom was feared to be axed

Confusion reigns over a popular gardening competition after council bosses told two residents associations it had been scrapped-only to go back on their word after the Times intervened.

Brent in Bloom, which is held every year, gives green fingered residents and community groups across the borough the chance to show off their gardening skills and spruce up their neighbourhood with the hope of being awarded a prize.

According to the council’s website the competition “gives local people and school children the chance to show off their gardening skills whilst making the borough more attractive and raising awareness of the environment.”

However, this week, its future was thrown into doubt after both the Campbell Gordon way Resident’s Association in Dollis Hill and the Nw2 Residents Association in Cricklewood were told the contest had been scrapped due to “budget constraints.”

An email seen by the Times sent to residents who had enquired about entry dates says: “Due to budgetary constraints and capacity issues, we are unable to hold the local in Bloom competition this year. However, we would like to include your group as part of the wider London in Bloom campaign.”

Brent in Bloom is a preliminary heat of the London in Bloom and Britain in Bloom contest, ran by the Royal Horticultural Society.

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Bernie Fitzpatrick, a member of Campbell Gordon Way RA, who won the neighbourhood award at last year’s competition, said: “It doesn’t cost the council any money to put on, all they need to do is go round and judge the entries and provide vouchers for winners. I thought they were crazy when they said it would be cancelled.

“We would have set-up our own version whatever the council decided because we do it for the love of it.”

Dollis Hill ward councillor Cllr Alison Hopkins, added: “It is not fair on residents to issue such conflicting messages. This time last year competition details had been published and entries invited.

“The delay means it will now be more difficult for entrants to prepare properly.”

A Brent Council spokesman said: “Brent in Bloom is going ahead this year and will take place over July and August 2013.

“We will be announcing more details shortly and publicising it to residents in The Brent Magazine and elsewhere.”