Tidy Towns Report: Efforts clearly visible in Killasmeestia

Tidy Towns Report: Efforts clearly visible in Killasmeestia
News Reporter news@leinsterexpress.ie @laoisnews

Tidy Towns Competition 2016

Adjudication Report: Killasmeestia

Mark:276. Mark Awarded 2015: 269

Community Involvement & Planning:

The adjudicator would like to welcome Killasmeestia to the 2016 National Tidy Towns Competition. Thank you for your completed entry form. The annotated map was a great help to the adjudicator on the day of the visit. Given your village has a population of 20 it is great to see that 8 of this total are on your committee! We would encourage you to develop a 3-5 year village plan. This will allow you focus your attention on key projects and will be in effect your works programme for the next 3-5 years. We would advise you to consult the tidy towns handbook for advice on how to prepare a simple plan. This will gain you marks in this category as well as being a valuable planning tool.

Your overall approach to Tidy Towns is very positive and we are so glad to hear that your involvement in the competition has helped build a pride of place in your community. Thanks to the local business that support you and we note you have a very good relationship with the staff of your excellent new school. The linkages between you and the younger generations are precious to make and maintain. Have you considered sponsorship of a student of the year award perhaps with an emphasis on community involvement or works towards environmental improvements? This is a very practical way to reinforce the Tidy Towns message.

Built Environment and Streetscape:

This was the adjudicator’s first visit to your village and we were impressed at the standard of care given to the community buildings present. Thank you for the before picture of the rail at the church as we could compare it to the new hooped railing as seen on adjudication day which perfectly matched the detail on the original gates. This was a nice piece of work for this focal building which was immaculately maintained along with its graveyard. Your new Killadooley national school is a great addition to the village with its colorful name sign. The pump feature and stone bench were neatly presented as were the quirky milk pails.

Landscaping and Open Spaces:

You have done good works on the stone walls to the raised planter along the village roadside. The use of roses and herbaceous perennials is to be encouraged as they provide a more interesting and subtle colour to an area and should require less maintenance. Thinking this way is a more sustainable approach to landscaping. Self-seeding plants or perennials that can withstand dry roadside conditions are also fitting. The simple planting to the base of the Killasmeestia name stones at the entry to the village were very appropriate form your rural setting. We thought perhaps the fence mounted planters opposite the church cluttered up the boundary here somewhat and may be more appropriate elsewhere in the village. Perhaps in time the grass verge here at this boundary could be planted with perennials to enrichen its habitat value and prevent cars parking on the verge? Well done in your long term thinking to plant trees to replace any lost to facilitate the playground. Long term investment in the landscape structure of the village will reap rewards for future generations as they mature and create a leafy backdrop for the village. Remember to plant native trees where possible.

Wildlife, Habitats and Natural Amenities:

You have a wealth of habits surrounding you which have so much potential. The purpose of this category is to help towns and villages promote and understand why their habitats are important and helping local residents value them.

The works you are doing to improve the pollen and nectar supply in your area though sustainable planting schemes are commended. A year round food supply, uninterrupted corridors between habitats, and suitable hibernation and nest sites are critical to our wild pollinator’s survival. We noted the bug hotel and wildflower garden clearly signposted from the road. Graveyards are another habitat rich site and there is advice available on the best management practice for our rural graveyards which could help with the management regimen at The Church of the Assumption. Look to the Heritage Council website for advice.

Sustainable Waste and Resource Management:

You have embraced this category in your approach to landscape with water butts, self seeded plants and compost production being practiced in the village. A water butt was noted at the school and the church also to facilitate watering the planters nearby. Well done in all this. While it is good to promote sustainable landscapes this category is about more than this, it aims to promote the efficient use of resources in villages and promotes effort to reduce waste being produced. When addressing this category we would urge you to visit http://local prevention.ie/tidy-towns/. The Local Prevention website have added a specific 'Tidy Towns' page to their website and we would encourage you to visit the site to 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 progress in this category. Other simple ways to advance in this category is to encourage your community’s participation in for example earth day or cycle week, nationally promoted programmes that you could take part in. These can be simple and effective ways to get the message across and will gain you points in this category.

Tidiness and Litter Control:

The standard here was high with scant litter evident in the village core area so well done to all involved in the regular litter picks and litter awareness works done with the school. We noted the anti-dog fouling signs on pole in the village and hope this has resulted in improved behaviour from local dog walkers.

Residential Streets & Housing Areas:

The residential properties in the village and entry points were presented to a high standard so well done to all your residents. The Parish House was nicely painted and neat. In time the pink rose bush in the raised stone planter should mature and enliven the plain roadside wall here. Encourage residents to plant up front gardens in the village as gardens areas are a really important wildlife resource and an important source of food and nectar and can be an often overlooked habitat in the village.

Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes:

The namestones were well presented at the entry to the village. In visiting your rural setting we noted some lovely old field gates in the village, one in particular leaning against a wall. These old gates are an often forgotten and overlooked part of our rural cultural heritage and show the lost skills and craftsmanship of your local blacksmiths.

We would urge you to look to the excellent Kilkenny Co Co publication on the vernacular forged wrought iron field gate, for information on the restoration of these important elements of our rural heritage. It was noted that the boundaries of some of the farming residence at the edge of the village showed signs of spraying with chemicals. We would encourage your committee to spread the word that the use of weedkillers and other environmentally harmful chemicals is actively discouraged by Tidy Towns. Alternatives are hand weeding, strimming or hot water treatments. If residents must use pesticides or herbicides, spot treatments, where the chemical is applied directly to the plant, are preferable to blanket spraying.

Concluding Remarks:

Killasmeestia is a lovely village with an interesting mix of buildings, in an attractive rural setting. The efforts of your committee and the local community are clearly visible to the visitor. You seem to have benefitted greatly from you participation in the competition. Thank you to all involved in this year’s submission for their hard work and good luck for 2017.