Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Positive Tidy Towns adjudication

Although an improvement of just four points in our Tidy Towns performance for 2016 might seem small, it continues the local effort in the right direction, writes Brian Byrne. Indeed, the tone and comment in the Adjudication Report is very positive, and the extra points maybe don't adequately reflect that.

On Community Involvement & Planning, one of the areas where Kilcullen picked up a point, the Report notes some success in gaining new membership to KCA/Tidy Towns, and the 'engaging well' with local schools. The 3-year plan that sets out short, medium and long-term goals is also commended.

The adjudicators say it was lovely to see so many small, independent retailers along Main Street, and also write positively about the new sculpture to KDA, 'made even more special' by the fact that it is celebrating previous community work and volunteerism. This is all in relation to the Built Environment and Streetscape section, where special appreciation is also expressed about the An Tearmann Coffee Shop. The sound of the organ being played while the 'beautifully maintained' church grounds were being viewed brought the adjudicators inside to admire the 'stunning' interior.

'Good strides' have been made in the Landscaping & Open Spaces category, with the Convent Garden improvements getting particularly good mention for the 'significant time and effort' which has been put into the project.

The 'wild' grasses area of Nicholastown Green attract pleased attention in the Wildlife, Habitats & Natural Amenities section, with the thought given to providing more wildflowers and native species particularly for pollinators being noted. The town is 'extremely fortunate' to have the Camphill Farm in the centre of town, particularly the enjoyable Nature Trail, gardens, and the explanatory signage.

The initiatives undertaken under the Sustainable Waste & Resource Management section are highlighted, in particular the 'Taste it, don't Waste it' initiative, the composting, and the Scoil Bhride involvement in the Green Flag, especially their recent achievement of the Travel Flag. The adjudicators wonder if there's any Grow It Yourself group in the community growing edibles, apart from Camphill?

The old bugbear of litter seemed to be in 'fairly good control' on the day of the adjudication visit. Other aspects under Tidiness & Litter Control weren't quite so positive, with 'wire clutter' on street premises noted, and a 'somewhat untidy' Church Car Park.

The standard of presentation in Residential Streets & Housing Areas is described as 'high', with the stone facade on riverside apartments helping them to blend in 'well' with surroundings noted. 'Excellent' planting in and around Castlemartin and the entrance to Cnoc na Greine are highlighted, as is the 'lovely mix' of planting in Liu na Greine.

The Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes are given a good bill of health, notably the signage on approach roads and the 'nicely presented' verges at the Naas Road end.

The Community and Tidy Towns Awards organised by KCA are commended a number of times as encouraging businesses and estates to be involved in the whole tidy towns effort, all helping to the concluding remark that 'Kilcullen has come a long way' in recent years. In all, they say, 'a fine entry'.