Southport overall National winners for Large Coastal Resort

18th October 2016

Photo: Brenda Porter receives award

Southport overall National winners for Large Coastal Resort

The 2016 RHS Britain in Bloom Awards was held in Birmingham at the Edgbaston Cricket Club on Friday 14th October Categories.

Below is the official scores from the judges 


Horticultural Achievement Environmental Responsibility Community Participation Overall


Introduction (introductory remarks from the judges):

Southport is a seaside town located on Sefton coast in the northwest of England. Looking out over the Irish Sea, it has extensive coastal sand dunes, which are home to the famous Royal Birkdale Golf Club. The town grew quickly in the 19th century and has a long history of leisure and recreation. The Southport Air Show and Southport Flower Show are important events and contribute to the town’s tourism offering.

SECTION A — Horticultural Achievement

Areas of Achievement:

  • The community of Arnisdale and its associated church and community garden was extraordinary and exemplifies what can be done when a group of people get together with a clear vision for bettering their local community. The standard of maintenance and planting design in this site was most impressive and complemented the surrounding streetscape as did the work by the volunteers in Birkdale Village.
  • The grounds of the Southport Show and Victoria Park were very interesting with the build-up for the flower show well underway. The hanging basket display and the green wall at the entrance gates will be significant features of the 2016 exhibition.
  • The stunning scale of the herbaceous border of Rotten Row, some 800 metres long, was extraordinary. Having fallen into decline, the site has been revitalised with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Friends of Rotten Row are a truly remarkable group undertaking a truly remarkable task. The level of engagement with the community at this site was also most impressive.
  • The King’s Gardens provided a lovely frontage to the seafront area. The informality of Hesketh Park and the restoration of its ponds provided a wonderful urban woodland. In contrast, the
  • high levels of formal maintenance at the Botanic Gardens undertaken by the volunteer group was also remarkable.

Areas for Development:

  • these areas was not in keeping with the other high levels of maintenance seen on the tour. More attention should be given to these areas to ensure a consistent horticultural finish throughout. In Hesketh Park it was disappointing to note damage to lawn areas by dog urine. Basket irrigation in general was good although some baskets were observed that required some irrigation and feeding.

SECTION B — Environmental Responsibility

Areas of Achievement:

  • The drive along the coast via the Ainsdale dune systems and the interpretation of this important landscape by Rachel Northover was very informative. This site is a designated National Nature Reserve and a Ramsar site. It provides an important habitat for local fauna including natterjack toads, great crested newts and sand lizards.
  • Sefton Council has a wide-ranging waste management and carbon reduction scheme in place that comprises a range of policies with the potential to ensure a significant carbon reduction. These policies include a move to LED lighting, a civic building ‘invest to save’ fund and working with schools to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • The inclusion of themed sculptures, such as those on the Coastal Road and Marine Drive roundabouts, exhibited elements of the town’s past. Leaving the grass embankment uncut opposite the planting on Rotten Row provided a great contrast and makes it an important habitat in its own right.
  • The garden of Pauline Morris at Barford House was both a stunning and immaculate display.
  • The tour passed areas of more permanent and shrub planting. The maintenance of some of
  • sporadic weed growth observed. The seating provision along Rotten Row was quirky and the addition of hand-painted designs on some of the seating delightful.

Areas for Development:

  • The town was very busy during the tour. The judges noted the very clean streetscape with onlyThe Ainsdale dune systems were a very significant part of this landscape. It would have been appropriate to allow a stop during the tour to allow some of this area to be seen a close quarters. at the base of planters at the junction of Lord Street and Nevill Street. This detracted from the
  • While the tour exhibited very little in the way of street weeds, some weed growth was noted effect that the planters would otherwise have created. Some street furniture was also observed that was in need of refurbishment.
  • Southport has a rich local heritage, which could have been further expanded upon during the tour. This would have placed the town and its significant open spaces in the overall context of the tourist offering to which this heritage was contributing.

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