DESPITE the upheaval of the town centre redevelopment work, Bicester still won a prize in a national horticultural contest.

Bicester was awarded a Silver Gilt in the large town section in the Thames and Chilterns in Bloom Regional Award contest, part of the Britain in Bloom awards.

Overall there were almost 2,000 entries in the Britain in Bloom contest, and more than 20 towns, cities and villages entered the regional section.

Judges inspected each location in July, and awards were presented at a special ceremony in Aylesbury.

Bicester Town Council’s environment chairman Lynn Pratt, who is also chairman of Bicester in Bloom, said judges had commented that Bicester was a welcoming place, and attention had been spent on presentation and links between the town centre and Bicester Village.

Community groups, including the Green Gym and a community orchard project, at Langford Village, were praised, and the town was also complimented on its well-kept verges and the absence of weeds.

Mrs Pratt said: “We were very pleased to get a silver gilt when the town is going through a lot of upheaval.”

The main aim of the competition is to encourage and celebrate local communities improving their local environments. As well as floral displays, judges also looked at conservation and natural areas, and activities which improved the environment and encouraged community involvement.

Ted Smith , chairman of Thames and Chilterns in Bloom said: “This has been a very exciting year, with many projects celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Games. We were delighted by the very high standard across the region, the commitment by all entrants is tremendous. I would like to thank all local committees for their continued support of the campaign.”