Flowers replace rubbish and graffiti as Salford's alleyways begin to bloom

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The Independent Online

You'd hardly associate Salford with flowers. Popular perception of Manchester's neighbour city probably remains the grimy streets of terraced houses pictured on the original credits of Coronation Street .

Perceptions should change. Last night, a series of flower-bedecked alleyways in the city carried off the Community Award of the annual Britain in Bloom competition.

The Alley-gators Project involves fitting gates to the alleys between the backs of terraces in the Seedley and Langworthy district - one of the city's oldest and, formerly, most run down - then turning them into recreational areas overflowing with flowers in tubs and hanging baskets.

With funding from a major inner-city regeneration scheme, these former derelict and redundant spaces, once bedevilled by graffiti, rubbish and crime, have been transformed into flourishing courtyards.

Judges of Britain in Bloom, jointly run by the Royal Horticultural Society and the DIY chain B&Q, were stunned by the results and lavish in the praise. knocked out. Their verdict: "An almost unbelievable transformation of an exceptionally neglected district in just one year."

Mary Rolfe, the Salford City Council regeneration officer in charge of the project, said that "alley-gating" had been greeted with huge enthusiasm by the people in Seedley and Langworthy. It has proved so popular that a further 56 schemes are planned in addition to the three already in place.

Salford was not the only urban area to pick up a prize last night. Both Sheffield and Coventry won major awards, the former for its landscaping of the city centre, and the latter for the use of flowers in urban regeneration.

For a full list of winners, go to