SuperValu Tidy Towns 2017: ‘There is a distinct pride of place amongst Clondra inhabitants’

Tidy Towns adjudicator says villages of Clondra’s size and attractiveness were not suitable for Celtic Tiger developments

Alan Walsh

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Alan Walsh

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newsroom@longfordleader.ie

SuperValu Tidy Towns 2017: ‘There is a distinct pride of place amongst Clondra inhabitants’

SuperValu Tidy Towns 2017: ‘There is a distinct pride of place amongst Clondra inhabitants’

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

Community Involvement & Planning / Rannpháirtíocht an Phobail & Pleanáil:
Clondra is welcome to the 2017 SuperValu Tidy Towns Competition.
Thanks for the excellent application which read like a short story at times - very informative and indeed entertaining as well. The maps included, particularly the rough sketch map, were helpful to this adjudicator who was visiting the village for the very first time. I would suggest that one good detailed map is sufficient for the purpose of adjudication and maybe you might bear that in mind for next year. The 3 year plan for the village of Clondra is a practical document.
The weather on the day was poor but little could be done as the job of adjudication is not weather sensitive. That said the lovely canal and harbour village looked very well and your work as a committee has contributed to that. You have been a high achiever in the competition down the years and this is reflected in the support that you have got from all sectors of the local community. Fostering good relationships with Longford County Council, DSP, Lanesboro Tourism and Waterways Ireland has been very beneficial to the village.
Communication methods are varied but maybe you could give consideration to including some additional forms of social media in the mix especially to attract the younger generation. It also good note that you have a strong involvement with local school and the local GAA Club (Killashee). It is heartening to note your genuine reaction of what the competition has meant to your community and how it has evolved through different generations.

Built Environment and Streetscape / An Timpeallacht Thógtha agus Sráid-dreacha:
Clondra has a rich historical association with the Royal Canal and Richmond Harbour was the terminus where the canal met with the River Shannon. It also had poignant connection for many County Longford emigrants as it was probably their starting point on a journey of possible no return to the land of opportunity the USA. A village with some fine cut stone buildings a legacy of that particular period it has great appeal for the many visitors that visit each year.

Unfortunately, from this adjudicator's point of view at any rate, too much development was allowed in that period of daftness affectionately known as the Celtic Tiger. Villages of this size and attractiveness were not suitable for such developments but such was the thinking then that they couldn’t be put up fast enough.
It was noted during the walkabout that the unfinished housing development looks as if it will be completed as there was a houses for sale sign with a contact number on the green area in front of the barrier. St Brendan’s Church looked very well on the day even allowing for the inclement weather and the planning notice for the works referred to in the application was to be seen on the gate.
Road surfaces were very good as were footpaths and the village has the advantage of having wires underground which does away with obtrusive and sometimes low wires criss crossing the street. Nice street lighting and bollards at relevant parts of the village add to the orderly look. Traffic calming measures were effective for the village which has entries off the N55 and can be busy during the summer season. The Community Hall was well presented and well done to the local community who have in effect taken ownership of this old historical building that still has a meaningful purpose in the 21st Century.
Scoil Mhuire NS is a fine school that was extended in 2009 and was very well presented and managed so credit to teachers and indeed its young pupils, Both the Richmond Inn and the Camlin Inn, two fine hostelries, were presented in an acceptable fashion; the latter had its outdoor furniture covered effectively because of the heavy rain that prevailed on the day. The children’s playground was well managed with up to date modern equipment.
The whole area of Richmond Harbour, which was well signposted, was exceptionally well presented with properties painted and tidy. Waterways Ireland House obviously offers changing facilities for boat owners if I am correct in assuming that shower and wash units were for this purpose.One appreciates your position in relation to Bourke’s House and there is very little one can add at this stage except to say that hopefully a successful conclusion of sorts will result from your ongoing discussions with other parties. There were a few properties that were in need of a little attention but overall permanent residents as distinct from transients have a pride of place in Clondra.

Landscaping and Open Spaces / Tírdhreachú agus Spásanna Oscailte:
Sorry to hear that you have lost a CE worker due to cut backs but whilst means more work for committee members the high standard attained in this category remains intact. The weather on the day wasn’t conducive to a good aesthetic experience but that didn’t take away from that fact that some very fine landscaping and planting arrangements were observed in the core of the village and on the outskirts. The noted that green spaces and hedging in the Richmond Harbour area were all well managed and the copper beech trees gave a nice backdrop to area near the playground. Maybe a few colourful large planters filled with a mix of annuals and perennials would add that little extra to that area.
The Lock House and its surrounds were well looked after and the green areas were cut and maintained in good. It was noticed that on the exit route that directly leads into Tarmonbarry that there was excessive use of weed killer which resulted in a section of the verge being completely denuded of grass. Some excellent stone flower beds were observed at a number of locations in the village. It would be remiss if one didn’t not mention the efforts of the teachers and children of Scoil Mhuire who have added such colourful arrangements to the school premises.
The attractive name sign on lower Tarmonbarry entrance could be enhanced by a floral arrangement either permanent or moveable. The colour displays on the verges of the main Strokestown Longford road from the Tarmonbarry boundary were admired and were in full bloom even allowing for the weather. The adjudicator learned something new on that particular day from a local on the Roscommon side that there’re is a facility to raise the bridge road to let boats pass underneath on the Shannon. The standard of presentation of private gardens was extremely high with beautifully designed arrangements to be seen.
Overall this category is one where you consistently attained a high standard and this year is no different.

Wildlife, Habitats and Natural Amenities / Fiadhúlra, Gnáthóga agus Taitneamhachtaí Nádúrtha:
This is a category that you have embraced with both enthusiasm and the need for practicality. There are a multitude of wildlife habitats available to you in and around Clondra.
To maximise the potential of these taking into account the need to be cognisance of good wildlife preservation is the key. Getting local enthusiasts such as the gentleman who is an expert on swifts to give talks is a direct measure that promotes wildlife preservation in the proper way.
The fact that some local people undertook training on the subject will be of great benefit to the local community and indeed these newly informed people may be in a position to impart knowledge to the local school children. School children embrace nature with such enthusiasm that they will invariably come up with a school project.
Well done on organising a “day on the bog” as part of the local village festival this is another “return to nature” event . Whilst the walk to Knappogue Bog maybe outside your remit as a  Tidy Towns Committee it’s no harm being fully informed on what’s planned for your immediate area. Bug hotels have become ubiquitous all over the country and they are effective if information on the species of wildlife that live within is made available by way of notice board or leaflet. You have some nice ideas included in this section but do involve the school children in any future projects.

Sustainable Waste and Resource Management / Bainistiú Acmhainní agus Dramhaíola Inbhuanaithe:
The essence of this category is to promote by various ways the need to reduce the production of unnecessary waste at source. Simple but hard concept for many centres to get to grips with. Some counties have designated environmental officials that help communities to organise specific projects. The adjudicator is amused at your take on car pooling but in essence you do have a point-this is not for everyone and people like their own independence when they are lucky to have it.
Other measures that you have mentioned are not that new and many other communities have embarked on similar projects such as these. Again congratulations to the very progressive Scoil Mhuire NS on achieving 3 green flags. It’s great to see children get involved in projects that bring them close to nature such as poultry rearing and growing  vegetables for consumption by the local community. For additional project ideas it would be worth checking on the following websites www.localprevention.ie www.greenhomes.ie and a newer one www.sustainableprocessing.ie


Tidiness and Litter Control / Slachtmhaireacht agus Rialú Bruscair:
This is a category that you have excelled in over the years and this achievement certainly didn’t happen of its own accord. The measures that you have put in place have had the desired effect in that the message of good litter control and anti litter has been taken onboard by local residents. As stated in a previous section there is a distinct pride of place amongst Clondra inhabitants.
On the day little or no litter was observed during an extensive walkabout and examination which is a testament to  the excellent work of volunteer pickers. The problem of indiscriminate littering from passing cars is a national problem and one that despite many anti litter campaigns is still as prevalent as ever. Similarly dumping on the outskirts of towns and villages is also fairly prevalent and this unfortunate and sad that so many people are uncivic minded. Well done on the measure that resulted in the discontinuance of bad practice at the Graveyard. Overall the standard was very good.

Residential Streets & Housing Areas / Sráideanna Cónaithe & Ceantair Tithíochta:
The unfinished estate looks as if it will be completed in time judging by the sign advertising houses for sale at the site.Hopefully that will happen very soon. The adjudicator was very impressed with the standard of private residences, outside of estates, that were observed in the centre of the village and on the outskirts.
You are correct in stating age or infirmity can prevent older owners for doing improvements to their premises. You are also to be commended for addressing the problems you encounter up from as this is not a common practice among other applicants!!
Cois Abhann, which is a gated cluster, looks as if it is extremely well maintained and it has an impressive boundary wall. The Mill cluster was also well maintained and presented except some of the young trees were leaning to one side and need to be re staked.
The standard in this category was very good on a day when residences and gardens were not seen at their brightness.

Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes / Bóithre Isteach, Sráideanna & Lánaí:
The description of the upgrading of the yellow safety strips at Burkes Bridge was quite amusing but the thing that caught the adjudicator’s attention was that this was work undertaken by volunteers!! For the last few years much has been written about this particular entrance into the village and this adjudicator is not  going to compound matter any further with suggestions that may well be outside any voluntary committees control.
The point has been well and truly made and outside of painting the bridge wall, which is very effective, there is very little to gained from re highlighting it any further. One would have thought it was the responsibility of Longford County Council.
By the way one of walls was painted in black and amber not black and yellow, maybe he or she is from Kilkenny. Nice touch also in your expression of thanks to Regina who was forced to “throw in the spade “after years of providing service on the Longford Road entrance. Overall the entrances into the village gave a very favourable first impression for visitors and that’s very important.

Concluding Remarks:
This was the adjudicator’s first “real” visit to the lovely harbour village of Clondra and the experience was extremely pleasant and warrants a further leisurely visit in the near future. You are wished well in the years ahead.

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