Tidy Towns Report: High standard presented in Killenard

Tidy Towns Report: High standard presented in Killenard
News Reporter news@leinsterexpress.ie @laoisnews

Tidy Towns Competition 2016

Adjudication Report: Killenard

Mark: 280. Mark Awarded 2015: 274

Community Involvement & Planning:

Killenard is very welcome to the 2016 Tidy Towns competition and thank you for your well-structured and nicely illustrated submission. Your mission statement to focus your works on all that is good in the community is a great approach to take and the 4 core common elements you identify seem to be thriving in the community. Well done on your success in the Laois community and Voluntary awards earlier this year. As your town plan reaches its mid-point , now is a good time over winter when work on the ground quietens a little, to review your aims as see what you have achieved and if plans have not been realised why not. This is good way to assess where the strength and weakness of your plan are and can inform the preparation of your next plan. The Hotel is a very prominent endeavour in the community and it is good to see you have a good working relationship with them. The GAA certainly provide practical support and man and woman power to help you realise works on the ground. The school and community centre are also key resources in such as small community as yours and again you use these resources well for the good of all. From the scouts to the crèche to the historical society we extend our thanks to all of the groups who have supported you in 2016.

Built Environment and Streetscape:

Killenard is a very pretty rural village spread out over your long main street. The community centre at the very heart of the village was beautifully maintained and the mixture of planting to the façade was admired. The tiered planter dedicated to your caretaker was admired as was the fact that wall and low shrubs provide year round interest while the hanging baskets complement this by bringing a blast of summer colour. This is a good sustainable approach to planting. The church is a gem in the middle of the village and was bedecked with ribbons and flowers for a summer wedding so was looking delightful. Your new school extension was noted and the up to date sign outlining the history of education in the village was read with interest. Indeed all signage in the village was well placed as it related to either architecture of habitats and they were uniformly clean and smartly painted black. We note the proactive approach you have taken to address the issue of the untidy derelict property in the village and good luck with this. We hope the shop units find new tenants to bring more commercial life to the village. We wish you luck with the development of Billy’s World. The hotel and its grounds were well looked after and maturing nicely. Could wall shrubs or climbers to added to the base of the walls at the shop car park to take the bare look off the boundary here?

Landscaping and Open Spaces:

We note in the submission that you are pulling back on the resources being put into summer bedding and seem to be very aware that it is quite possible to achieve vibrant summer colour without resorting to annuals. Bedding can be especially useful in your hanging baskets where soil depths mean only seasonal planting is realistic. However on the ground, perennials and shrubs should be used where possible as part of a sustainable landscape strategy. We noted the very patriotic colour scheme on the beds around the clipped box cones on the roadside verge and appreciated the thought that you are putting into your planting plans. The regimented bright coloured bedding of geranium and begonia in the graveyard we felt was not best suited to this peaceful rural setting. A bed of lavender or country roses may be more fitting here with bright colour concentrated in your hanging baskets or core village beds. The bench in the graveyard could be repainted. The new trees at the school were noted and we thank the pupils for their works here. Keep them watered over the summer when school is out. The hedge to the parking bays opposite the community centre had some rouge sycamore seedlings which should be weeded out before they take root and outcompete the beech.

Wildlife, Habitats and Natural Amenities:

Given the launch late last year of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-2020 you have certainly been ahead of the crowd in recognising this as an important issues for tidy towns groups to address. The effort and thought that you have put into both an understanding of the theme, with your planned bee keeper talk to the local school, and the actual work on the ground in your bee pollination corridor, is applauded and has earnt you makes in this category.

Well done. As a next step encourage residents to plant up front gardens with plants chosen from your well researched plant list. Gardens areas are a really important wildlife resource and an important source of food and nectar and can be an important overlooked habitat in the village. Trees create a wonderful backdrop to your village.

We hope the works done in altering the ground level for your 1916 memorial garden were carried out under competent supervision to ensure the earth moving meant no root damage to retained trees. While the addition of new trees here is great to see ensure any works in the vicinity of mature trees do not cause damage to their underground root system or cause them stress.

Sustainable Waste and Resource Management:

You have put a lot of thought into this category and your submission made for interesting reading and your many works have earned you marks here. The bring centre to the rear of the community centre was well maintained. The leaf mould bin at the rear of the community centre was visited but unfortunately some people do not seem to realise its significance in spite of your signage. Flower wrappings and plastic had been deposited here from locals tiding up graves no doubt. This must be frustrating for your master composter. Well done to the 14% of residents who are now using water butts and we hope to see this percentage rising as your sustainability awareness campaigns are progressed over the next 12 months. If funds are realised for works to the community centre car park don’t forget to include bike stands to promote this sustainable more of transport in and around the village.

Tidiness and Litter Control:

The village, its landscaped areas and its built environment were all presented to a high standard and well done in all the hard work to achieve this. Well done on upholding your standards here. No obvious litter was noted on adjudication day. Your sweep on Wednesday initiative which combines tidiness with healthy workouts is a great idea! The compost area at the graveyard unfortunately had flower packing included and in spite of your signs this is an issue for you, the bring centre was clean with no litter. There were a number of temporary signs at the entrance to the hotel that tended to somewhat spoil the impact of its classic proportions and its status as an entry point to such a lovely establishment.

Residential Streets & Housing Areas:

From your submission it is clear that you maintain close relationships with the 3 residents associations in the village at Carriglea, Killenard Lodge and the Heritage. The effort put into the upkeep of garden boundaries and front garden areas to all homes in the village does much to maintain the pleasant appearance of Killenard. Could perhaps additional tree planting be accommodated in the entrance open space at Carriglea . Well done to all your residents and keep up the good work. Try to ensure the front verge and garden areas of houses for sale are kept neat even if it is a protracted sales process. A home (sale agreed) at Rathmile Ave had a lot of weed growth to the frontage strip and between paving setts. Remove all trees ties on trees to residential areas that have become stablished before they damage the barks and cause scarring.

Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes:

The roadside hedgerows, stone walls and surrounding landscape enhance the approach to your village beautifully.

The simple black and white village signage on the approach roads create a pleasant impression as you draw near to the village, under planted with a mix of perennials. The ornamental light standards on the route to Carriglea did not seem to have any lanterns in them? Do the function as lights? We wish you luck with the pursuit of funds for the car park resurfacing and the raised red pedestrian crossing also need attention as the surface here is beginning to unravel. We note in the submission you are liaising with Laois County Council on this issue. Pedestrian links between the Hotel for guests wishing to visit the village could also be improved.

Concluding Remarks:

Kilenard has a lovely rural charm and the emphasis you have put into addressing issues in a sustainable manner is commendable. Well done on this. All involved with this year’s entry are warmly thanked and congratulated for their efforts.