SuperValu Tidy Towns 2017: Granard must voice concerns with Longford County Council regarding non fulfillment of regeneration commitment

Granard is making progress in the Tidy Towns competition

Alan Walsh

Reporter:

Alan Walsh

Email:

newsroom@longfordleader.ie

SuperValu Tidy Towns 2017: Granard must voice concerns with Longford County Council  regarding non fulfillment of regeneration commitment

SuperValu Tidy Towns 2017: Granard must voice concerns with Longford County Council regarding non fulfillment of regeneration commitment

Here's what the SuperValu Tidy Towns 2017 adjudicators had to say about Granard and above are the marks Granard received.

Community Involvement & Planning / Rannpháirtíocht an Phobail & Pleanáil:
Granard is very welcome to the 2017 SuperValu Tidy Towns Competition.
Thank you kindly for the comprehensive hand written application form accompanied by a 3 year plan, pictorial records of activities from your excellent Facebook page and map which was useful to the adjudicator on finding different parts of what is rather large town despite its designation as a small town under Tidy Towns.
It is noted that you are a new committee formed last year that your objective is to maximise the town’s involvement in the competition and in doing so contribute to the betterment of Granard as a town and a community. Good to note also that you have got some excellent support since your re formation as a new committee.
Having the local GAA Club and the Men’s Shed involved as  partners is a huge plus as the mix of skills sets within these two organisations will have practical benefit in terms of getting work done. Other groupings within the community will row in behind your efforts over time.
The TUS scheme is a central to the work of keeping the town litter free and also other works that may fit into the landscaping and built environment categories. Sponsored high viz jackets would certainly make you known to the community at large.
Developing strong links with Longford County Council is very important as there are some problem issues pertaining to Granard that very much fall within the Council’s bailiwick.
Methods of communication are varied mixing the established with the new forms of social media. You are to be commended on your Facebook page as it is very up to date which is the key to the success of these forms of communication. Thank you for the strong endorsement of the competition in this your 21st year of entering.
Your work over the last year in this category merits an increase in marks.

Built Environment and Streetscape / An Timpeallacht Thógtha agus Sráid-dreacha:
The standard in this category was a little mixed and this is reflected in last year’s mark which was reduced from the previous year. There is little point in repeating back to you what the main negative issues from last year were suffice to say that where possible you have taken action this year to redress theses.
The proposal to remove the old fire station which, without harping too much about it,  is an absolute eyesore, is a very positive development. Let’s hope that all parties involved will work in tandem and hastily to bring this proposal to fruition. It would be good to have plans available for next year’s competition which would show another modicum of progress. Your approach to the county heritage office for advice is also to be welcomed.
Some remedial work has taken place in a number of premises around the town since last year and these have been noted by the adjudicator.
The following is a cross section of observations which form part the adjudication assessment. Ardscoil Phadraig is a very impressive educational establishment with extensive frontage and top class landscaping all well maintained. Nearby is a top class community resource The Canon Kelly Community Sports Hall and its ancillary facilities such as all weather pitches. These very much show the positive side of this category in Granard and commendations to all who involved in the running and maintenance of both.
The old market house which now houses the Community Library is another example of a well maintained public building and it is important to acknowledge these as the positives under this category heading. The Greville Arms, is there any connection to the Greville in your neighbouring county, is a long established hotel well managed and providing good service.
The Michael Collins connection has been well depicted by the wall plaque which was sponsored by Granard Tidy Towns so well done on that. It seems more than he vied for Kitty Kiernan’s affection! Nearby Joan’s Farm Shop and Sheridan’s were very well presented and enhanced that part of the Main Street. McMullins Seven Sleepers, what an intriguing name, has been totally transformed from near dereliction.
Your photograph of these premises must have been taken in winter as the hornbeam tree? - can’t recall if it was hornbeam, has bloomed and now obscures the name sign.
Nice to see old shop fronts still retained John O’Hara is a  case and point and it looks as if the premises may become a vibrant business again as there was a for sale sign over head.
Granard Credit Union and the nearby SuperValu premises were also very well maintained and presented. St Mary’s RC Church holds the most prominent position in Granard as it overlooks the town and it’s identifiable as an iconic building. St Patrick’s Church of Ireland was described in last year’s report a venerable or esteemed ecclesiastical building. These are some of the very positive observations that the adjudicator noted on his walkabout.
The negatives are more than they should be but ones that can be addressed by the committee have been identified for improvement.
Others will take time and need the backing of  Longford County Council to facilitate changes needed.

Landscaping and Open Spaces / Tírdhreachú agus Spásanna Oscailte:
The standard in this category was very acceptable with potential to achieve more. There should be more public landscaping features in the town and its surrounds. It is important that the Committee engage with the local area engineer and express the need to examine the present landscaping and planting plans and see if needs tweaking or indeed re drafting.
It’s hard to pinpoint where the greatest need is but looking down the main street from Church Hill one feels that there should be more urban planting in place. Commendations to all the traders that have hanging baskets in full bloom in all parts of the town.
The Harp feature on the Edgeworthstown exit was admired but it was felt that it would be even further enhanced by some additional shrub beds on the surrounding mound. The adjudicator was impressed with the many private gardens that were observed during the walkabout, these will also be referred to in another section further on. Well done on all the basic maintenance work you undertaken that is central to success in this category.
The committee has a large area to cover and this year you have clearly defined town boundaries which is more than a help.
Overall the standard was good.

Wildlife, Habitats and Natural Amenities / Fiadhúlra, Gnáthóga agus Taitneamhachtaí Nádúrtha:
Now that you have made contact with the County Heritage you can also get advice on the possibilities of maximising your potential in this category. What you are doing at present in terms of ensuring that hedgerow cutting deadlines are adhered to, planting shrubs and flowers in the wildlife habitat are all very contributory to the conservation and promotion of various species of wildlife in your area.
There is a need for a more coordinated approach to putting together a dedicated wildlife plan that  would include examining the need for wildlife surveys of your area and other options like devising wildlife  information panels at  appropriate places within the town boundaries.
It’s important that when you start these projects that both primary level and second level schools are involved.

Sustainable Waste and Resource Management / Bainistiú Acmhainní agus Dramhaíola Inbhuanaithe:
This category has been revamped a few years back and the main objective is to curtail the production of unnecessary waste. This is now National policy and all the more needed given the concerns around the amount of unnecessary waste going to landfill an option that will not be an option in a very short time.
As was stated in last year’s report Tidy Towns Committees will now be seen to be drivers of the above and should be encouraging all sections of their communities to buy into the idea that excessive waste production is just downright bad for the environment.
The Tidy Towns Unit produced a booklet a few years back that gave direction to committees on how to develop projects that would help the main objective of curtailment of needless waste production. The follow on to this is to promote the reduce reuse and recycle motto. The following are three websites that are useful for idea generation www.localprevention.ie www.greenhomes.ie and www.sustainableprocessing.ie
Also you might consider researching what the circular economy is about and how relevant it might be to your needs.

Tidiness and Litter Control / Slachtmhaireacht agus Rialú Bruscair:
Well done on getting involved in the An Taisce Spring clean and also on your work as part of your weekly litter pic. Granard is no worse or no better than any other town of its size when it comes to littering actually on the day in question the amount of litter observed was comparatively small.
So once again well done and as a follow on your involvement with the transition year students in Ardscoil Phadraig is a step in the right direction as young people will follow good example. The general level of tidiness was a little mixed and issues such as dereliction has to some extent been dealt with previously.
One notices that on your wish list letter to Longford County Council you mentioned the uneven footpath on the extremities of the N55; this was noted by the adjudicator. Some sections of kerbing had farm related residue as well as the old “reliable” cigarette butts, hopefully your request for regular road sweeping will be answered in the affirmative.
Overall the standard was good and a lot has been done since last year so an increase of one mark is merited.

Residential Streets & Housing Areas / Sráideanna Cónaithe & Ceantair Tithíochta:
There has been very in-depth comment in the last two tidy town’s reports on the standard in this category. One or two estates particularly have come in for attention and it is indeed sad to see the condition of many the houses in these two estates.It is very unfair on other committed residents of these areas to have this type of problem on their doorstep.
This is not a tidy town’s problem it is as stated in the last year a local authority problem and it doesn’t look as if it is going to be addressed any time soon. How the situation in Colmcille Terrace was allowed to fester and get worse year on year is beyond my comprehension.
Whilst you as a committee want to keep your relationship with Longford County Council on a steady footing you have to, in no uncertain terms, voice your concerns about the non fulfillment of a commitment to have these two areas regenerated.
As last year’s report stated the condition of the old fire station, a public building, is disgraceful and nothing in the last  year has been done to even hoard off the building which is unsafe.
The adjudicator does not want to give the impression that it was all negative in this category and there were many examples of well maintained established and new housing developments around the town and its outskirts.A cross section of these were visited on the day and the standard of presentation was very good and was the case last year the Church View was admired for the tidiness and presentation of individual residences.
The rather large cluster of housing that make up O'Carroll Avenue and O’Callaghan Terrace were also well presented with a few exceptions to the rule that one finds everywhere. Both Cnoc na Greine and Granada Drive are new developments with large green communal areas that were well maintained and presented.
The residents of these developments have a pride of place as they have presented homesteads to a very high standard. Both these estate will mature and become established in time.


Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes / Bóithre Isteach, Sráideanna & Lánaí:
The work you have done in this category or have been responsible for initiating has paid off as on the day all the entrances were very acceptable. The entrance in from Edgeworthstown is impressive with nice name sign placed in a circular stone bed and this creates a good first impression. This part of town houses some large industrial areas and these were very well presented.
One crib that this adjudicator has, and the problem is not alone applicable to Granard,is the amount of free standing hoardings at the entrances to towns and villages advertising events whether it be community fetes or Jimmy Buckley performing at some hoe down is becoming greater each year.This practice should be discouraged because it is not controlled.
The other entrances into the town were presented well and did give a good impression to a first time visitor.The boundary limits for judging are now clearly defined. The work you have initiated and continued with deserves an additional mark.

Concluding Remarks:
It was a pleasant experience to take time out in Granard as usually one just passes through on the way to Cavan direction. The town is making progress in the competition and the new committee will ensure of that over time. You are wished well for the future.

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