2013 - Newtowncashel - Co. Longford

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Tidy Towns Competition 2013

Adjudication Report

Centre: Newtowncashel Ref: 485
County: Longford Mark: 308
Category: A Date : 26/06/2013

                                              Maximum Mark             Mark  Awarded  2012    Mark Awarded  20123
Overall Development Approach           50                                    46                              46
The Built Environment                       50                                    38                              39
Landscaping                                     50                                    43                              44
Wildlife and Natural Amenities            50                                    31                              31
Litter Control                                    50                                    39                              39
Waste Minimisation                           20                                    11                              11
Tidiness                                           30                                    20                              21
Residential Areas                              40                                    28                              28
Roads, Streets and Back Areas           50                                    40                              40
General Impression                           10                                     9                                9
TOTAL MARK                                   400                                 305                            308

Overall Development Approach:

Newtowncashel is most welcome to the 2013 TidyTowns competition. Many thanks for your application form and
additional information including attractive map. There is no need to staple typed pages onto the application form
as you have done and merely submitting the printed pages is more than adequate. Your continuing commitment
to the TidyTowns project is astounding and a whopping 19 members on your committee would be the envy of
many a centre multiple times your size. As a one-time national winner you have kept the flame lit and remain a
beacon to those aspiring centres in your county and beyond. One of your secrets is evidently the sophisticated
level of organisation that is coupled with a strong spirit of voluntary service. This is what Tidy Towns is all about,
if only we could bottle it! Your numerous paper clippings were read with interest and your continued
encouragement of involvement of the local school bodes well for the future. You are scoring very highly in the
contest now so that every new point increase is hard-won. At this level of the contest the adjudicator is conscious
of the risk of over prettifying so that towns need to be innovative and look beyond the obvious in order to excel.

The Built Environment:
We were sorry to read of the closing of the pub and hopefully this will, as you say, find a new owner without too
much delay. The purchase of Thomas Ashe Hall is an exciting development for your village and we await the
unfolding of this feature. The school is very well presented and was flying its green flag on adjudication day.
L&K’s village shop is similarly clean and tidy. Hill Hall is finely decked out with flowers and a well painted exterior.
The Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin is superbly set back against tall trees which lead the eye towards
its clean stonework. Flags on flagpoles would be welcome to add some colour and movement. The
Newtowncashel interpretive panel is full of interest but is showing its age unfortunately. Fallon's bar, although
now in disuse, is nevertheless maintained to a high standard. Is the heritage centre still open? A sign for same
was noted but no entrance could be seen. The lovely plaque to those who have contributed to TidyTowns is a
perpetual reminder to why this place is so special. The renovation of J Hopkins is indeed a triumph and creates
the perfect introduction to Newtowncashel from this approach. Well done on the tasteful preservation of this
important heritage building.

The Quarry Park is a real treasure and a remarkable celebration of your industrial heritage. The living enclosure
(the name for this eludes me!) is amazing. The GAA grounds are immaculately kept. A recently planted line of
beech hedging was admired here and efforts to screen timber fencing are to be encouraged. While beech is not
necessarily a bad choice here the use of hawthorn would be more in keeping with the surrounding landscape.
Elsewhere leylandii trees have been pruned hard and look unsightly on approach from the school. There is
probably no need to describe in detail the numerous formal landscaping installations throughout Newtowncashel.
But each one retains a distinctiveness and character that is breathtaking to behold. The butterfly garden was
abuzz with all kinds of flying invertebrates during the warm sunny weather creating a lovely effect. Overall the
standard of maintenance and landscaping throughout is superb, well done!

Wildlife and Natural Amenities:
Your change of tack on the issue of the wildlife survey is noted. The idea that students would record sightings of
wildlife over their holidays is a nice one but one wonders have the supports been put in place so that students
can put names to the numerous species of plants and animals to be found in the locality. This approach needs to
be fleshed out a bit more. Wildlife recording could take place year-round with sightings uploaded to the
www.biology.ie or springalive websites. Have valued habitats been mapped? Does this tie in with any nature
studies program in the school? Your nature walk which took place on May 6 received no mention here but is
surely an important event in the social calendar, as well as raising awareness of the areas natural history. You
are fortunate indeed to have frogs and newts in your quarry reserve. Do record these with the National
biodiversity data centre and add to the body of knowledge on these important species.

Litter Control:
A deeply engrained pride of place is clearly effective in preventing litter falling to the ground in the first place. The
support of the school is greatly appreciated in this regard and it is important to remain vigilant at all times. Litter
control on adjudication day, as expected, was to a very high standard throughout, well done. The discreetly
located bring bank was spotless.

Sustainable Waste And Resource Management:
The school’s award of its fourth green flag was only revealed an examination of your additional information but
should be clearly highlighted under this category. They are spearheading an attack on our environmental impacts
and householders are encouraged to follow their lead. Best of luck with the audit which no doubt will be reviewed
by the adjudicator in 2014. Your emphasis on composting this year is welcome. You seems to have a good
turnout for the seminar with Dr Compost and no doubt all attendees are getting to grips with this new hobby. You
are also expanding your use of rainwater harvesting and hopefully this can be rolled out to a wider audience.
Last year's adjudicator went into considerable detail on this topic so there is no need to repeat this. Suffice to say
that the focus must now be shifted away from recycling and onto the minimisation of resource use including
materials, water and energy. You have made a start so perhaps you could come up with two or three new
projects for next year. Feel free to be creative or simply copy what has worked for others

Congratulations on the removal of the overhead cables this has indeed made an enormous contribution to the
appearance of the town's streetscape. This adjudicator's view is that the new lamp standards are too tall for this
rural setting and that the blue-colour they are painted in is a bit gaudy. Nevertheless it is a great improvement on
what has gone before and perhaps it is something the second adjudicator would wish to comment upon. Your
projects to convert street lighting to LED bulbs should be placed under the sustainable waste and resource
management heading. The village has reached a very high standard of tidiness and the only issue of note was
signage near the GAA pitch on approach from the quarry which needs to be washed.

Residential Areas:
Newtowncashel has no estates and so is fortunate to have escaped the building frenzy of the Celtic Tiger years
that has blighted so many parts of the country. Homes here are stand-alone and of a variety of ages and
architectural styles, from stone fronts to traditional pebble dashed farmhouses. The standard of presentation on
adjudication day was excellent and many attractive garden displays where admired. A site notice across from
Fallon's indicates that planning permission has been sought for six houses in this location. Is this to go ahead? It
is hoped they would retain as much of the old wall as possible.

Roads, Streets and Back Areas:
The road surfacing throughout is to a good standard and it is great to read that footpath repairs and resurfacing
have taken place. The numerous welcome signs, planted with colourful flowers in raised stone beds where
admired on all approaches. The approach from Barley Cove is beautifully landscaped with fantastic displays of
blue flowers. These are perfectly proportioned and have great impact here. The view looking towards Lough Ree
is stunning. Because the town is so spread out a worthy long-term project would be to link all core areas with a
footpath and/or cycleway.

General Impression:
Newtowncashel continues to delight the visitor and shows no sign of resting on its laurels. Your innovations
under the landscaping category are a real attraction while to progress further at this level of the competition you
really need to be showing this type of creativity under all headings. Best of luck !

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