Tidy Towns Report: Built environment noted in Durrow

Tidy Towns Report: Built environment noted in Durrow

Tidy Towns Competition 2016

Adjudication Report: Durrow

Mark: 306. Mark Awarded 2015: 305

Community Involvement & Planning:

The adjudicator would like to welcome Durrow to the 2016 National Tidy Towns Competition and recognises your long history with us. Thank you for your entry form and town map. For next year it would be a great help on adjudication day to indicate on the map sites of particular projects to be included as part of this year’s judging. Your overall approach to the competition is good and it is obvious that the committee of 12 has dedicated members who receive good support from volunteers, youth and scout groups and your CE participants, to keep up the high level of care witnessed on adjudication day. Thank you for including your 2016-2019 Town Plan and this should be a valuable planning tool for you. It would be useful to also list specific projects under each category with a timescale so that during the life of the plan you can review it annually and see how many of your aims of being met. And if not why not. Remember that no matter how small a project may seem on the ground, they all add up to promote a sense of pride in the community enjoyed by both residents and visitors to Durrow.

Built Environment and Streetscape:

You have a wealth of antiquated buildings within the village which add so much to its setting. We are glad to hear that a number of derelict premises are having works done. The community buildings in the town were well presented although the Fire station would benefit from a spruce up. And we see in your submission that this is a task you are intending to advance. We hope to see this work done for next year as it is a prominent building passed by visitors to the river Erkina. The Durrow library was closed on adjudication day but is a lovely reuse of an old courthouse building. Some weeding is required to the frontage here. We note you hope that the local Garda Sargent will repaint the station house and the front boundary wall here also really need to be power washed or repainted and loose wires to the façade tidied up. The modern restrained frontage of the Durrow Credit Union was admired as was the red frontage of Hennessey’s butchers and the modem use of planting at Shepard’s Auctions. Their warehouse/store on the opposite side of the road had very faded window displays which should be replaced so it matched the presentation of the main Auction House office. The entrance to Durrow Castle is very impressive and together with the spire of St Fintans Church creates a lovely setting here. The riverside garden to the Boat House Inn was a lovely spot with its quirky boat and bike planters visible form the old bridge for passer-by’s. We await the completion of works to the ICA hall.

Landscaping and Open Spaces:

The set piece of open space at the square has had much work done to it since this adjudicators last visit to your town. I seem to recall relatively mature trees in the main square and it seems a pity that these could not have been retained in the new scheme. You state that a further stage of works is to come and we hope to see the whole scheme completed soon. Ensure new trees planted to the square are kept well-watered for the first few growing seasons and any failures are replaced as soon as possible. The red and yellow roses to the emigrant memorial wall created a splash of colour to this lovely open space at the junction of Mary Street and Chapel Street and the bin here could be cleaned or repainted. Could the space here accommodate a feature tree, in memory of a well-regarded Durrow emigrant or immigrant perhaps. Perhaps this could be done with the school or a local youth group to coincide with national tree week. Beds and hanging baskets both on light posts and private premises were all very well maintained and we would encourage you to investigate using perennials for some of your seasonal displays with their increased value for pollinators and insect life.

Wildlife, Habitats and Natural Amenities:

Your loop walks are a great amenity for the town and are kept well maintained. Part of this category is about making sure the community as a whole also appreciates its rural setting and your bluebell and bat walks do much to advance this. The planter to the base of the wall from the fire house to the rivers should be rejuvenated, preferably with pollen rich shrubs or perennials. Removed self-seeded sycamores and by filling the area with planting, it should mean no spraying would be done in this area in the future. Evidence of spraying was seen on the day of the visit.

Use of the herbicide in this location could damage or pollute the riverside environment (including both river water and groundwater).

Sustainable Waste and Resource Management:

The bring centre at Oliver Stanley Motors is kept well maintained by the business here, our thank to them. Our Lady Meadow NS is to be admired for the work done to attain their Green Flag. Good luck with progressing water butts in the town. We saw lots of downpipes that could accommodate one. Perhaps at the Garda Station? To gain marks in this category we would encourage you to visit http://localprevention.ie/tidy-towns/ . The Local Prevention website have added a specific 'Tidy Towns' page to allow you see what waste prevention projects have been done by other similar groups around the country. There are various case studies to learn from with practical tips, advice, free downloads of brochures etc. this is a great resource to gain advice on how to develop new initiatives in this category. Do you know if many residents or businesses took part in the Earth Hour? All these initiatives should be encouraged and noted for next year’s application to help you gain marks in this category. Any ides can be added to this category of you 3 year town plan.

Tidiness and Litter Control:

There are two schools of thought regarding litter bins; one is that litter bins are needed for people to use otherwise they will drop litter in the street, and the other is that litter bins attract more rubbish, some of which can be unpaid-for commercial waste and domestic waste. We are so glad to hear that the removal of bins from the playground has actually improved the litter situation here and it is a strategy that has worked for you. However, on adjudication day unfortunately a number of spots in the town had litter present. As judging took place on a weekend morning, the litter from the night before was very evident. In particular the bin by the bus shelter in the newly developed square was overflowing with mostly fast food waste spread around the ground here and a number of pint glasses were beside the seat and bin. Local hostelries and fast food outlets may need to be approached to help solve this issue.

The bench by the new boardwalk at the river also had a significant amount of waste present. The dead box hedges to the windows of Bowes café should be removed.

Residential Streets & Housing Areas:

There are a range of residential types in town and once again they were presented to a high standard on adjudication day. A particularly well presented traditional double fronted 2 story Irish townhouse façade with window boxes was admired opposite the open space at Mary Street. A lovely display of purple flowers to hanging baskets was admired at Chapel Street by the Post Office. The effort put into brightening up these homes makes a real difference to the streetscape. The namestone at the entrance to Erkindale Drive by the new playground was neatly presented and lovely purple geraniums to the planers at the open space here added a dash of colour on a very grey summer’s day.

Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes:

We note you plan to progress works restore the old stone bridge and self-seeded sycamores need to be removed here before they damage the stonework. The busy combination of road signs, finger post and temporary signs at the junction with Swan Road and Mill Road did not detract from the Mill Wheel Amenity area.

Concluding Remarks:

Durrow is a lovely town set against the backdrop of Durrow Castle estate. We hope as your planned works come to fruition the town will benefit in a positive way. All involved with this year’s entry are warmly thanked and congratulated for their efforts and wished well in 2017.