Tidy Towns Result 2012 – What Do YOU Think?

Tidy Towns 2012 - The ResultsThe results of the 2012 Tidy Towns Competition were announced in Dublin on Monday 10th September. Congratulations to Abbeyshrule in Co Longford who won the top prize.

Sadly, Delvin was again marked down and came towards the bottom of the results table with a somewhat mean score of 191 points out of a possible 400. I say “mean” because a quick read of the adjudication report (included below) suggests that the marks awarded are at odds with the often excellent comments made by the judge during their visit!

So WELL DONE to the Tidy Towns committee who have worked so hard to build on last year’s score. Even as this article is being written, local businesses are giving their premises a facelift and people stopping in the village will be noticing just how much work has been put in to keeping the village tidy and improving its appearance. With some visible scars from the recession in clear view in some areas, this deserves credit!

So what do YOU think? Have a read of the judges’ comments, have a look at the marks awarded and then share your views below!

Adjudication Report

Overall Development Approach – Mark out of 50: 29
Thank you for the filled up entry form and the excellent map of the village I note you have 10 persons involved and you are holding enough meetings to plan ahead and monitor progress. Good to find that you are getting support from Westmeath County Council and the local businesses. The people of Delvin are well informed of your activities. Great to see that you enjoyed participation in the competition which was your first time last year.

There are plenty events in Delvin to bring the people together and make friends. This means you have a good approach to the competition.

Clean Streets and Flower BasketsThe Built Environment – Mark out of 50: 26
The old church ruin is a great historical monument, but I fear the ivy will destruct some of the walls and you could inform the conservation officer at Westmeath County Council about this. Delvin Castle is a landmark building in this area and looked to be in good condition. Nice well kept shops are in Main Street ,and I admired Lenihan’s family butchers and the little pharmacy shop front. The art work on the Candy Store and the adjoining houses is excellent – well done. The Blue Hackle pub stood out, and across the road there is the splendid Catholic Church with the tall spire and it is surrounded with great landscaping.

Delvin Handball club has an excellent appearance from the roadside, and Youth Reach alongside looked well. St Patricks Hall is a fine facility for the town and nice flowers were growing on the bank beside it. The small Garda Station looked neat and tidy. The large school was well presented with the spacious car park.

Landscaping – Mark out of 50: 26
There is a lovely picnic area across from the mart, and other small bits of landscaping stand out. Landscaping is excellent at the Catholic Church. Good quality tall poles have attractive floral displays that added freshness and colour to the surroundings. There is a natural landscape to this area that requires little intervention with the splendid traditional stone walls and mature trees that only requires maintenance. There is excellent landscaping in the new estates.

Wildlife and Natural Amenities – Mark out of 50: 15
You are complimented for attending the seminar on best practice to be put in place when taking care of old graveyards that are a haven for all types of wildlife. You could try to get some local people involved in your committee to tell us all about the wildlife of this lovely part of county Westmeath. In some locations the people link up with the schools and sponsor art and essay competitions on the wildlife off the area, and this increases awareness of the local wildlife.

Litter Control – Mark out of 50: 25
I note your action in regard to getting the “take away outlets” to clean up outside their places. It would be great if the council street cleaner could pay weekly visits to your place. You could partake in the national spring clean-up that is initiated by An Taisce in conjunction with the county council whereby pickers, gloves and plastic bags are provided free. All the material that is collected is then disposed of by the council in a responsible manner. There was some litter on the streets mainly cigarette ends, but in fairness this is a national problem, and all we can do is to highlight its untidiness.

Delvin 2012Tidiness – Mark out of 30: 13
The new graveyard is a credit to the people of Delvin – well done. Those sturdy stone walls are well presented and they have a forever new appearance when properly maintained as they are in Delvin. There were some issues raised in last year’s report that are attended to- well done.

Waste Minimisation – Mark out of 20: 3
It was great to see the green flag outside the school and this tells us that the children, parents and teachers are taking good care of the local environment. This is an opportunity for the children to educate the parents going on what they learn in those very practical lessons in green flag programmes. You could introduce the motto of reduce reuse and recycle, and of course composting is the way forward where good class material is produced to enrich the flower beds of the village and the vegetable gardens at home.

Residential Areas – Mark out of 40: 23
I visited some estates and nice ones are on the Ballivor road but Cluan Lorcan had some untidy grassed margin. Lacora Glen is a great new estate with spacious green in the middle. Castle view has splendid houses with large greens and young trees. Beautiful cut stone houses are admired at the cross below the mart and some good houses are near the church. Other town style houses and stand alone houses had impressive displays of shrubs, flowers, trees and lawns that make for attractive aesthetics in the village.

Roads, Streets and Back Areas – Mark out of 50: 25
The long stretch of footpath on the Mullingar road makes for safe and pleasurable walking. Good traffic calming measures help greatly to control the speeds around the village. There are clear and distinct road signs all around. Road surfaces are fairly good on the approach roads but a few bumpy stretches are to be found in the village and notably outside the mart.

Delvin 2012General Impression – Mark out of 10: 6
In this your second year I could see you are making progress. As you state people do little things on their own and this is obvious from going around the village. The important thing is to try and get as many people as possible involved and all the clubs, sporting and others, could provide a member for your committee and this will help to spread the workload. You mention the famine graveyard and this is a project that you could undertake for next year, but be very careful with whatever is done as it is more a case of what not to do in these projects. I advise you to tell the conservation officer at Westmeath County Council of whatever plans you have for the old graveyard and that person will then start you off on the right track. Under no circumstances should anybody do work of any nature there without being properly briefed. There is a little book called “The care and conservation of graveyards” and it could be available free from the county council ware services section. And you could purchase Irish Stone Walls published by Pat McAfee ISBN 13:978-0-86278-372-2.

Total Mark: 191/400

Response From The Delvin Tidy Towns Chair

We are encouraged by the hugely positive comments made in the judge’s report and the ten point increase on last year’s score is a step in the right direction. Success in the competition takes time and we have only just begun. As it stands, the on-going project at St Mary’s Church will shortly begin to benefit from a local government scheme under which up to 19 hours a week by a dedicated worker can be funded – this has taken time to secure but will have a huge impact. We have other ideas and projects also in the pipeline. We are grateful to Westmeath County Council for their assistance this year with all the improvements to the approach roads and other projects they have undertaken. We would like to thank all the businesses who have supported us and who have continued to improve the appearance of their premises, and last but not least, we would like to thank the local community for their support and enthusiasm. Our work will continue in 2013 and if we keep making steady progress like this, we will get there!

Now, What Do YOU Think?

Well done to all the volunteers – onwards and upwards!

Why are we even bothering with this now? They never mark villages like this fairly.

It’s sad to see that we got so few points but (to be honest) I think the town could do better. It needs some more flowers around the area and I think the Garden centres should lend a hand and give some sponsorship. I have to add that the Ruins of the old church beside Mr Leonard’s shop are atrocious and filthy. I brought a friend and his daughter to see the ruins there and there was trash and broken glass all over the place – plus the grass and weeds are taking over. That should be a factor for the next visit of tidy towns. I moved here in 2010 and noticed a lot of improvement in the village but I think there could be more touch ups here and there. The community really should get on board with this.

Like you said, the comments in the report don’t match the marks awarded. Well done everyone.

Well done delvin. You should be proud of the community spirit the competition has generated.

On the way into Delvin village from Mullingar, the wall is half down and the hedges are overgrown. Doesn’t give a good first impression.