Tidy Towns 2013: The Result

Tidy Towns 2013 - The Results Are In

The results of this year’s competition have been announced today (September 9) at the Helix in Dublin. This year, the title of Ireland’s Tidiest Town has been awarded to Moynalty in County Meath.

So how did Delvin perform? Well, we have reason to celebrate too because out of a possible 400 points, Delvin has been awarded 203 – not only is that a 12 point increase on last year’s score, but it has earned the village a county “Endeavour Award” of €500!

Here are a few of the improvements that have been made to our landscape over the last few years:

  • New footpaths at Lacora Glenn, Castle View and towards the GAA park – not to forget work under way on the new path leading out to Stoneyford Park
  • New cobble locking by the castle and outside the former Ulster Bank, plus new tarmac outside the post office
  • Increased litter patrols and improved communication with local businesses over their role in keeping the streets as clear of rubbish as possible
  • Floral displays along the street and impressive, independent floral displays by private individuals and local businesses including The Caman Inn, Barry’s Pharmacy, the VEC, Tierney’s, Carmel Gaffney, the Greyhound Bar and the Blue Hackle
  • Ongoing work at St Mary’s Church which this year included repairs to the front gates
  • Sterling efforts to tidy up some of the scars of the recession that still blot our landscape
  • Investment by several businesses in freshening up their premises – some on a yearly basis – including the Caman Inn and Lenihan’s Butchers, and of course Tierney’s with their impressive new shop front

Nobody can deny that our village is actually looking quite well!

So what did the judges have to say? You can read this year’s report below and add your own comments after. Last year’s scores are shown in brackets.

2013 Adjudication Report

Overall Development Approach – Mark out of 50: 30 (29 in 2012)
Delvin is most welcome to the 2013 Tidy Towns competition. Many thanks for your completed entry form, hand drawn map and additional information. You are certainly making great progress in the contest and the momentum you have built up is certainly paying dividends. You have good organisational structures in place including a decent sized committee and contacts with Westmeath county council. Are there sporting associations or businesses that could be added to this list? Communication is key to gaining broad support so it’s great to read about your various media outlets. Have you tried social media such as Facebook or Twitter? This could engage younger people and spread the message more widely.

Your map is very clear and shows all the principal features of the town. Whoever do be sure to mark clearly where works have been carried out since the last adjudicator’s visit. The adjudicator is looking for these so that he/she can award marks. Your list of projects for 2013 for instance could be a list of projects completed, with numbers and a reference to the map for ease of discovery. As a further step you are encouraged to develop a three-year plan. This would help you think about the broader aims of your group and set a vision for Delvin. It would identify actions to be completed under this period under each of the contest headings. Do consult the excellent Tidy Towns manual for hints and tips on how to do this. Also, feel free to include photos of events or ‘before and after’ shots when doing works. It gives the adjudicator a good feel for the impact of what you are doing.

The Built Environment – Mark out of 50: 30 (26)
Last year’s adjudicator recommended that you take conservation advice prior to any works on your graveyard. Was this advice taken? Under this heading the adjudicator is looking at how you are dealing with derelict premises. Have you made an inventory of these? Work with Westmeath county council to develop your options.

The school’s wall painting is judged under this heading. What a beautiful feature that really livens up the small park, fantastic artwork well done!

The treatment of derelict buildings through the use of murals and fake windows etc is excellent. The castle ruins are magnificent and add a wonderful sense of history to Delvin. The interpretive panel is informative but a bit worn.

Commercial signage in the town would benefit from standardisation to encourage handpainted signage that adds rather than detracts from the streetscape. The grounds of St Mary’s Church are very nicely maintained, well done on your work here.

Landscaping – Mark out of 50: 27 (26)
The beautiful natural setting of Delvin is its greatest landscaping feature. This includes the many mature trees that provide year-round attraction. These should be embellished wherever possible, trying to use native trees species for added value for wildlife.

The small park with the playground is very clean and tidy. The tall trees here are beautiful but the margins could be cleaned of some debris, for example dead branches, bricks etc. The displays of summer flowers along the main street add a welcome splash of colour. Is there scope here for more permanent installations? E.g. of trees or shrubs? The small square at the Delvin handball club is excellently landscaped with trees and shrubs (however oak were a poor choice as they will grow too big for this location). Some of the birch trees meanwhile are not doing so well and need to be replaced. The church looks fantastic but was a lot of grass to be mowed! Could areas of meadow be allowed to grow during the summer months? This would reduce resources and give some space for wildlife.

Wildlife and Natural Amenities – Mark out of 50: 15 (15)
This category is about your appreciation of the town’s natural heritage. Starting off resist the temptation to do something in favour of researching the habitats in your area. These may include mature trees, hedges, small streams or rarely cut meadows. Your pond is another example but do take advice before creating access. How will this affect the wildlife that is there? How will it be maintained? Holding heritage events is a great way of raising awareness for example by running guided walks, dawn chorus or bat walks.

Make sure to get local schools involved. Each animal and plant has its own fascinating story to tell, a rich mine
for projects, art and investigation!

Litter Control – Mark out of 50: 27 (25)
Congratulations on participating in the national spring clean. This is a great event to blow away the cobwebs at the start of the year. Along with your Monday litter picks and reporting of illegal dumping this is a good strategy. Do your volunteers wear high-viz vests when litter picking? They should have tidy towns across the back to better promote the work that you do. Litter control on adjudication day was to a very high standard, well done!

Some old litter has accumulated in the windows under the ‘1828’ building across from Delvin tyres.

Tidiness – Mark out of 30: 13 (13)
The town is generally very tidy in its presentation. No doubt the upgrade of the N 52 will enhance the town further. There are a small number of suggestions however that require remedy. Christmas decorations on the Blue Hackle and the Greyhound Bar should be taken down after the festive season. An old pump outside the youthreach building needs restoration. More Christmas decorations need to be removed at McCormick stores.

An ancient bin outside the wall of St Mary’s needs to be binned. The old Burmah sign is an eyesore, could be taken down?

Sustainable Waste And Resource Management – Mark out of 20: 6 (3)
The projects that you have listed are all good examples of how to eliminate waste. Your challenge here is to continuously add to this list and encourage participation by the whole community. Don’t forget that the adjudicator is not only looking at waste but also water and energy as these are increasingly precious resources. Do not prioritise recycling as such facilities are standard across the country and do not assist in the elimination of waste. Your school’s green flag is a vital element of this category. Do remember to give them a name check!
They will be creating innovative ways to reduce resource use and many of these ideas could be applied across the community. Ideas include organising a ‘reduce food waste’ event, learning about home composting or using perennial planting schemes over annuals.

Residential Areas – Mark out of 40: 24 (23)
Delvin has a number handsome states including Castle view and the neighbouring Lacorna Glen. These are greatly enhanced by their attractive stone boundary walls. Cois Caislean is also present is to a very high standard. The neighbouring small cluster of homes has no name however.

Roads, Streets and Back Areas – Mark out of 50: 25 (25)
Best of luck with the planned upgrade of the N 52. The approach from Athboy has a clean name sign but one that possibly lacks any character. Perhaps the committee could look at something more distinctive to give people a sense of what Delvin has to offer. Road markings along Main Street are very clear with the result that parking is ordered. Delvin has a large volume of heavy goods vehicles going through the town, many at high speed! Is there anything that can be done to slow them down?

General Impression – Mark out of 10: 6 (6)
Delvin has a lot to offer and the presentation of the town was to a high standard. Continue to build on your achievements in 2014 by preparing a three-year plan and getting rid of Christmas decorations after the festive season. Best of luck!

Total Mark: 203/400 (191)

Response From Delvin Tidy Towns

The D.T.T. Committee are delighted with our increase in this year’s competition from 191 points to 203 points. This is a reflection on the people of Delvin who have made great efforts enhancing their properties and business premises and ensuring litter control is of a high standard. A big thanks to all the volunteers and those who gave at our Church Gate Collection. Thanks also for the help received from the St. Scire Workers.

Edward Chancy – Chairperson Delvin Tidy Towns

So, What Do YOU Think?

Agree? Disagree? Add your comments below!

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Congrats to all involved in this result! Great news about the award too – well deserved.

The hard work is starting to pay off! Well done and keep it up.

Well done Delvin.

Village looked well this year. Well done to all involved.