Tidy Towns Report: Very tidy appearance in Shanahoe

Tidy Towns Report: Very tidy appearance in Shanahoe
News Reporter news@leinsterexpress.ie @laoisnews

Tidy Towns Competition 2016

Adjudication Report: Shanahoe

Mark: 249. Mark Awarded: 244

Community Involvement & Planning:

Shanahoe is very welcome to the 2016 National Tidy Towns Competition. Thank you for the completed entry form and annotated hand drawn map. Your committee of 5 look to the Local Authority for help and remember to keep in touch with them as they often run workshops for community groups that may be of interest to you. In order to progress in the competition we would encourage you to develop a village plan based on a 3-5 year framework. A plan can give you a clear picture of what your committee is trying to achieve year by year, how you are going to approach each project and who the supporting agencies will be. Set out where you want to start, what you want to achieve, and the work required to be done each year. We hope the polytunnel will increase you interaction with your local school. After only 4 years in the completion the projects that we saw on the ground are a testament to the pride you have in your locality.

Built Environment and Streetscape:

The two vacant properties in the village by the pump and the red and white painted cottage by the Mountrath Road were both very neatly presented and to the casual passer-by would not present a poor impression. The core community buildings in the village were again well presented with the school and its boundary nicely painted.

Ensure weeds are removed from the edge of the footpath at the school. The Boston ivy nicely softens the graveyard boundary wall and must look vibrant in the autumn when the school children return. The traditional green pump on the Ballacolla Road was simply presented with its stone wall surround and gravel floor. Much nicer than some centres who paint these rural heritage items garish colours. The adjoining vacant cottage was also well presented and we hope to see new life here in time. Is the green shelter here a bus shelter? It was a nice spot to shelter from the Irish summer rain. The other village pump on the plinth was surrounded with planters with very wilting flowers which just added clutter to the spot and they didn’t add anything to the feature. The modern church with its landmark bell tower was neat and clean and the carriage mural is eye-catching.

Landscaping and Open Spaces:

The Birch and avenue tree planting done to approaches to the village is great to see and will only add to the sense of arrival as they mature over the coming years. Also consider spots in the village where specimen/feature trees could be established and places where screen planting may be beneficial, using mainly native species for habitat value. The box hedge spelling out Shanahoe is a lovely feature and must take dedicated clipping. The hostas planted to the entrance of St Brigids Graveyard were a nice feature as were the side planters here.

Wildlife, Habitats and Natural Amenities:

The wildflower bank by the Shanahoe clipped hedge was buzzing with life on adjudication day and shows how often no action in this category is often what is required to allow wildlife thrive. Our tendency to tidy up the landscape rather than allowing wildflowers to grow along roadsides, field margins, and in our gardens is also playing a role in fewer pollen sources being available. Also be aware that many bedding plants and annuals are not rich in pollen or nectar and provide little support to our pollinators. Consider how your planters are filled for next year maybe. When planting new trees after clearance work remember to try to plant native Irish species for best habitat value.

The wildflower bank by the Shanahoe clipped hedge was buzzing with life on adjudication day and shows how often no action in this category is often what is required to allow wildlife thrive. Our tendency to tidy up the landscape rather than allowing wildflowers to grow along roadsides, field margins, and in our gardens is also playing a role in fewer pollen sources being available. Also be aware that many bedding plants and annuals are not rich in pollen or nectar and provide little support to our pollinators. Consider how your planters are filled for next year maybe. When planting new trees after clearance work remember to try to plant native Irish species for best habitat value.

Sustainable Waste and Resource Management:

We wish you success in working with the school to establish a polytunnel. We hope to see progress on this for next year. We noted a water butt at the school so well done to them as this will be a useful resources when the growing begins in earnest. The recycling bank by the graveyard is a great asset but on adjudication day some electrical appliances had unfortunately been dumped beside them. Good luck with the composter as the graveyard and school grounds must generate a lot of clippings. Consider varying the mowing regime to the graveyard to reduce the maintenance burden and allow better habitat value.

Tidiness and Litter Control:

Once again Shanahoe presented a very tidy appearance with no litter present in the core village area so well done to all members of the community in your efforts here. Are two bins by the school necessary in your village setting?

You don’t say in the submission if the local school helps in your litter pick. Pupils should be thought to not generate waste and bring any waste home and dispose of it responsibly. Perhaps as a trial remove one of the bins and see if littering behaviour alters. A litter survey is a useful way of assessing bin usage which can then inform how often bins need to be emptied and their optimum position.

Residential Streets & Housing Areas:

The residential properties in the village were presented to a good standard so well done to all your residents.

Gardens and boundaries, which make such an impacted in a spread out centre, were looking well. A lovely rose bed against a hedge was seen by a home on the way to the Church and was particularly admired. We also were impressed with the nicely presented entrance to Shanahoe farm with the heathers planted to the top of the wall here.

Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes:

Generally approach roads were well maintained with your simple green and white Shanahoe village signs clearly visible within the mown verges and above neat timber planter. Maybe take a lead from the lovely pink rambling roses seen alongside the fence to the farmland on the way to the Church. These looked so well against the rural backdrop that perhaps a groundcover rambling rose could be planted to the base of your sign to reduce the need to refill the bedding annually. Apart from deadheading they require little maintenance and funds used to buy bedding plants can be used elsewhere in the village perhaps? As you rightly say the stone Famine walls are a real feature of the village. Take advice when cleaning old walls that conservation methods are applied to prevent damage. Keep speed limits signs clean and free of overhanging branches.

Concluding Remarks:

We very much enjoyed our visit to your lovely village. Good luck in all of your efforts for the coming year and thank you to all who contributed to the works as seen on the ground on adjudication day. As a relative newcomer to the Tidy Towns family we hope to see you go from strength to strength over the coming years.