JUDGING of civic efforts to brighten North-East communities has been taking place this week.

Northumbria in Bloom representatives were at Lumley Castle in Chester-le-Street on Thursday and Durham City on Tuesday.

They spent time assessing the horticultural developments and projects that have taken place so far as part of this year’s competition.

The results will form part of the overall assessment when they visit again in July, before winners are announced in September.

Councillor Brian Stephens, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “These schemes make a real difference to the environment and we are hopeful of a positive outcome later in the year.”