Established in the 1960s, London in Bloom aims to encourage care for our environment, maintain our precious green spaces, and make a positive impact on people’s lives.
Evidence suggests that well managed and attractive places do much to increase the economic well-being of town centres, and the last eighteen months have seen many people place even greater importance on green and attractive outdoor spaces.
Orpington 1st BID - which works on behalf of 350 businesses to improve Orpington town centre as a place to live, work, and visit – was awarded first place, having previously achieved Silver in 2018, and Silver Gilt in 2019 and 2020.
The expert judging panel were particularly impressed with the BID’s approach to community involvement.
Along with the technicolour flower towers installed across the high street, a comprehensive programme of environmental improvements saw the BID team work with the local authority neighbourhood officer on graffiti, chewing-gum, and fly tipping removal, as well as collaborating with other partners from resident and business groups on a variety of community engagement projects.
Two Pallet Parks, outside the town’s leisure centre and on the high street, breathed life and colour into concrete spaces, providing green and pleasant areas in which to sit and relax surrounded by additional planting.
The pop-up parklets also hosted a range of activities and entertainment throughout the summer.
This year’s entry also celebrated the town’s Safer Space Planters – initially used to assist pedestrians in maintaining social distancing, then repurposed to delineate hospitality business’s outdoor dining areas.
Shop window vinyls featuring photos of the high street flower displays ensured that even empty premises were looking blooming marvelous.
Orpington 1st Executive Director, Sharon Baldwin, said, “Town centres are for everyone and the spirit of our entry this year was about creating a welcoming and inclusive environment, bringing together a range of resources and skills and adding a huge amount of passion and creativity.
“A programme of continuous improvement started over 5 years ago has developed into something transformational and I would like to thank everyone who has been part of this achievement. Special thanks go to Mark Crawley from LBB who has always supported our enthusiasm and ambition in making Orpington the best it can be.”