SuperValu Tidy Towns 2017: Lanesboro looked very well during international angling competition

Lanesboro Tidy Towns committee recognised with Endeavour Award

Alan Walsh

Reporter:

Alan Walsh

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newsroom@longfordleader.ie

SuperValu Tidy Towns 2017: Lanesboro looked very well during international angling competition

SuperValu Tidy Towns 2017: Lanesboro looked very well during international angling competition

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


Community Involvement & Planning / Rannpháirtíocht an Phobail & Pleanáil:
Lanesboro is very welcome to the 2017 SuperValu Tidy Towns Competition.
Thank you for the outstanding application which was most comprehensive and detailed. It is an excellent example of how to put together application that acts an action plan under the category headings with emphasis on project tasks and the timeframe for completion of such tasks. The adjudicator was most impressed with the Goals and Objectives statement it sums up what the ethos of Tidy Towns is all about.
At this juncture the adjudicator would like to point out that such is the detail in your action planned submission that it would not be possible to make comment on all the information supplied in a 3 page report covering 8 category sections. Feel assured that the adjudication was done in a fair and objective manner taking into account the work and effort that you the committee have committed to over the last year and also the future plans that you have put in place over the next 3 years.
The committee of 20 is rather large to oversee the range of work projects that you have under your control. One assumes that you have an executive committee of possibly 4/5 that looks after the management of your work programme if so do mention it in next year’s application. The frequency of your meetings and work evenings is the key to getting the tasks done under the specific categories.
You have an excellent interactive relationship with a cross section of state agencies and of course with Longford County Council. The list and the scale of the projects completed are quite impressive and the availability of funding options via the various agencies has helped you in this respect.
Methods of communication are varied mixing the tried and trusted with the newer forms of social media. Acknowledgment of the support of the local community organisations, businesses and private residents is stated clearly and it is obvious that people see you as doing a good job for the betterment of Lanesboro. Good to note also that you have entered into a spirit of collaboration with a number of your neighbouring tidy towns  committee.
An excellent input under this category that has earned you additional marks.


Built Environment and Streetscape / An Timpeallacht Thógtha agus Sráid-dreacha:
The grant of €60,000 from the Dept of Arts and Community for the redevelopment of the Town Park is a major boost and the overall end result will be a major addition to the infrastructure of the town. The adjudicator observed the ongoing work during the walk about and one element that will be very welcome for the many visitors will be the completion of the public toilets as an essential facility. The town looked very well on the day and many premises had either been freshly painted or cleaned up.
Road surfaces were on the whole very good and the  new footpath structure on the Longford Road as well as being of practical use enhanced that particular area of the town. Road markings and traffic calming measures were clear and effective. The installation of additional energy efficient lighting on the promenade and on the Longford Road is a contribution to the energy conservation ethos that is some important for the environment.
Like many other similar towns Lanesboro is not without its problems in relation to unoccupied,untidy and derelict properties some of which are in the core areas of the town. The committee has addressed this problem by engaging with owners and also getting many of these properties tidied up or camouflaged. Your ongoing monitoring policy will ensure that you will be always on top of potential problem areas.
The following are a number of objective observations that the adjudicator during his walkabout. It was noticeable as one looked down the town  from the Ballymahon side that the skyline was free of overhead wiring which improved the look. St Mary’s Hall which has long local history looked very well and it just shows what a basic coat of paint can achieve. St Mary’s Catholic Church is a fine example of ecclesiastical architecture and the grounds and parking area were well presented on the day. The 1916 Remembrance Garden was admired and it has a significant place in the town where it can be accessed easily by visitors to the town.
Lanesboro Town Library is a nicely presented building and the boundary walls had been recently painted. The main car park was in good condition; it has a very good surface and is clearly marked and orderly. Ample parking spaces are available for locals and visitors alike and it also provides an easy access point for the Lough Ree Rescue/Sub Aqua centre.
Information notices boards, and there are many, were clean and visible and provided a myriad of information on the town history and its association with the Shannon and the Power Station which has been in existence since 1958.
The adjudicator is slightly confused with the relationship between Lanesboro and Ballyleague over the bridge on the other side of the River Shannon in Roscommon.Both share the same name as Gaeilge Beal Atha Liag. While on the subject the bridge looked very well on the day in question and flags of different nations flew as part of an international angling competition.
St John’s Church of Ireland and adjoining graveyard were both visited; it provides a significant history of what was then known as the Established church in Lanesboro. The work done on two major unoccupied buildings in the centre of the town has been noted and it has led to positive aesthetic change to that area. Overall the standard in this category was very good and warrants an increase in marks practical works done over the last years.


Landscaping and Open Spaces / Tírdhreachú agus Spásanna Oscailte:
The standard in this category was also very good and as part of your action plan it is noticeable that you have put a strong emphasis on all year round effectiveness and sustainability. The adjudicator was impressed with the reinstatement of the limestone pavement and felt that it was more suitable for inclusion in this category rather than the built environment. This was a fairly major undertaking and credit is due to those who were entrusted with the task.
One notices that you have a supply greenhouse at the back of St Mary’s Hall where you propagate your own plants to supplement the perennials that are donated by local people. Like many other progressive centres you are striving to find the balance between the use or herbicides and alternative methods to control the weed  and grass verge growth that occurs naturally especially during humid periods of the summer. There is nothing worse or unsightly that burnt edges or grass that has resulted from overuse of herbicides.

Well done on re planting silver birches on the river bank and in the 1916 Garden of Remembrance. Planter boxes are not ideal for this type of tree and the whole area of urban planting is one that is best left to someone with experience of urban landscaping. Why people persist in planting large shrubs and trees in confined planting boxes amazes me these are only for low lying shrubs like euonymus and spirea to name two. The vibrant planters, tubs and hanging baskets that were viewed around the town provide ample colour and looked very well on the day in question.
One thing that was noticeable is that there were placed at appropriate intervals for maximum effect. The road in from Longford is an example of good roadside planting, nice stone bed populated with hardy annuals at base of blue and white name sign on one side and young maturing trees on tidy grass verge on the other side. It gives a great first introductory impression as one enters the town.
Well done on your cooperative effort with your Roscommon neighbours on the other side of the river with whom you share the same Irish name! Again the standard is very good and much has been done in the last year which earns you an increase in marks.

Wildlife, Habitats and Natural Amenities / Fiadhúlra, Gnáthóga agus Taitneamhachtaí Nádúrtha:
The main objective in this category is to create a greater understanding and raise awareness of the natural amenities in one’s area and to promote co message of wildlife conservation to the community. As a committee you have set out to do this in a very practical manner with the development of a number of wildlife trails and other mini projects. The list is impressive and there is no point in repeating them back to you except to say that all were noted.
Not for the first time the adjudicator was taken with the fascination that Longford seems to have with the bird species swifts as nearly every other town or village has mentioned a project related to them in their application. The creation of the wildlife garden is an excellent project as it involved the pupils of the Community College. You have an outstanding collection of very well designed information panels which depict the wildlife and particularly species associated with The River Shannon. The Lanesboro Environmental Summer School is nationally famous.
Taking the proper approach to the protection of your local habitats is welcomed and you are to be congratulated on the work practices that you employ in doing this. Making sure that the schools are involved by being aware of the elements of the Green School Programme that they are part of is key to keeping them involved in your tidy town’s efforts in years to come. Continue with the good work and the awareness campaign that is ongoing in the community by way of your regular newsletter and through your website.
You are very fortunate to have such a diversity of wildlife habitats available to you so the motto is cherish them and make more local people aware of what they have on their doorstep.

Sustainable Waste and Resource Management / Bainistiú Acmhainní agus Dramhaíola Inbhuanaithe:
This is a category that was revamped and the importance of the promoting the concept of reducing the production of unnecessary waste at source was the key objective. The problem for many centres was understanding the idea and then translating that understanding into relevant and sustainable projects. The Tidy Towns Unit produced an excellent booklet as part of the main handbook and this helped committees enormously.
Your committee has a strong understanding of the main objective and its secondary goal of reuse and recycle. What you have done in 1) preventing waste in your tidy town’s activities and 2) raising awareness via various methods in the community is the proper approach and indeed an example for other centres. It is all the more important that we look at all options to reduce the production of waste in this country given the critical landfill situation that will evolve quickly over time.
The measures you have listed fit exactly with the aims of this particular category and you are to be commended particularly for making the concerted effort to hold a seminar on waste minimisation in February of this year. The adjudicator liked the creative idea for the re uses of empty green beer bottles! Just to keep you in the idea generation mode the following websites are useful www.localprevention.ie www.greenhomes.ie and www.sustainableprocessing.ie Also it may be worthwhile to research what the circular economy is all about and how it might contribute to your efforts in this category.


Tidiness and Litter Control / Slachtmhaireacht agus Rialú Bruscair:
On the day in question which was mid week there were pockets of litter to be seen on the street near the entrance to the car park and the recycling centre and further up on the other side. Some was seen also on the path near one of the seats on the bank of the river. No matter what one tries to do in combating litter there will always be people who will not adhere to the basics of good practice in this respect.
Despite major national awareness campaigns litter is still a major problem all over the country. Well done on all the effort that you have put into getting the message out there that Lanesboro is anti litter town. The rest of the town and on the outskirts was free of litter and this is a very good achievement for a town of its size and one that is quite busy especially during the summer season.
The undergrounding (is there such a word) of cables has been mentioned in a previous section and indeed this is a big plus for the town. You were lucky that you got approval for this project five years back and that the funding was still there to carry the work out. General tidiness was good but there seems to be some traffic congestions at the main supermarket at the lower end of the town towards the bridge.
Parking at this area can to say the least be a bit iffy and maybe more effort could be made to promote the use of the main car park, which at times seems underutilised, when using the supermarket. The bring bank was excellent and complemented by nice floral arrangements; maybe the clothes bank is getting a little rusty.Overall the standard was very good.

 

Residential Streets & Housing Areas / Sráideanna Cónaithe & Ceantair Tithíochta:
The adjudicator was impressed with the plans for the new town plaza and realises that if it comes to fruition, given that it has got the imprimatur of the NRA, it will address the problem of parking alluded to in the last section. €120,000 seems a rather modest costing for a major development!
Another distillery to compete with the established one in your neighbouring county! But I’m sure research has been done to prove the market exists. Cnoc Na Gaoithe on the Ballymahon Road is newish setae with large green communal area and the planted trees on the perimeter were mooted and look to maturing nicely. The Terrace of Houses (name alludes me) near the Community School is rather mixed in appearance with some in poor state of presentation.
It is assumed that the committee are aware of the situation here and that measures are in place to address things within a timescale. Carrig Rua and Church View very well maintained and nicely presented. The housing structures here bear resemblance to other Bord na Móna associated villages in Westmeath and Kildare. Overall the standard of presentation of housing stock was very good and some had extremely well presented frontages and side areas.


Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes / Bóithre Isteach, Sráideanna & Lánaí:
Approach roads into the town of Lanesborough were very well maintained and gave a good impression as one enters. Your work in maintained the three main extended exits has paid off in spades.The improvement in the Longford entrance since the adjudicator last visited has been fairly major, with new extended footpaths that allow people access to the extremities and some remedial work to unkempt areas such as the new wildflower meadow making a big difference.
Traffic calming signage on this road was clean and well visible as one approached the town. Post and rails fencing was painted and entrances to properties were tidy. The maturing trees on the well cut grass verge were staked well and in years to come will provide additional backdrop to this entrance. The Ballymahon entrance was equally as impressive with a nice stone flower bed at the entrance name and that most impressive linear line of trees that extends out a considerable distance from the edge of town.
The 60 km speed sign pole had been painted since the adjudicator last visited and it’s amazing that these little changes leave a positive impression. The R371, which eventually goes to Rooskey if one isn’t mistaken, was presented to a good standard with the verges cut in accordance with good practice and it also had pleasant stone bed with a mix of annuals and perennials shrubs.
Just a reminder,and it maybe should have been included under the built environment section, that there are a few internal directional signs in centre of town in need of basic cleaning.

Concluding Remarks:
It was a pleasure to visit Lanesboro after a number of years and see the improvements that have occurred in that interim period. The town of course will always be associated with the River Shannon and the power station that was set up in 1958  and that served  the country so well. You are wished well for the future.

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