The national Tidy Towns results for 2019 were announced on Monday 30th September. The overall winners were Glaslough with 346 marks. Lucan achieved another bronze medal, our third in a row with a really fine total of 322 points, up a magnificent 10 from 2018. We were only four points short of a silver medal. In fact, we scored better than Glaslough in two of the eight categories! Thanks to all who helped achieve this result, particularly our intrepid volunteers, who come out Saturday mornings from February to November and in the summertime in the evenings as well. Thanks also to our supporters in the community, in the schools, and in South Dublin Council.
Lucan Newsletter congratulates Lucan Tidy Towns on another great achievement!
The Judges remarks:
Community: Your Planning and Involvement
You have a relatively small number of people involved in your committee and volunteering for your population category, but you are completing a large volume of appropriate work. Your multiyear plan is well researched and written. You have a good relationship with local schools.
Streetscape & Public Places
Lucan is blessed with a fine and well maintained built environment which complemented by a wonderful natural environment. The core maintains its village feel, with its central village green surrounded by many wonderful well-maintained buildings. Old buildings are put to new uses. The tamed Paddy Power sign almost looked like a post office and the local Garda station was very well presented with a fine willow and birch tree. Despite it not being lived in, The School Masters House did not stand out for the wrong reasons. It is obvious many business premises take great pride in their shop front displays and maintenance of their buildings. The new ramp and bike racks blend in very well and must be a welcome addition to all who use them. On the Lucan Newlands road, what could have been a long boring pebble dash wall is broken up with natural stone infills, which helps to visually transform what would otherwise be a dull edge.
Green Spaces and Landscaping
Your work on the edge of the footpath along the Lucan road was admired. The open space between the Lucan Road and the Lucan Newlands road is a pleasant open space so close to the village core. You maintenance of the lower portion is appropriate for its location. I wondered if it is possible to upgrade the steps, railing and fencing leading down to the Lucan Road. There are some overhanging branches here and elsewhere also that could be trimmed back as they block the pathway. In your tree planting make sure to keep a minimum of 1m radius around all trees free from weeds and grass. This will help the tree to grow strong and vigorous and also stop lawnmower decks and strimmers rubbing up against the trees which can and usually does lead to their death a number of years later. The planting outside the Circle K petrol station looked wonderful. There is a dead Field Maple outside St Andrews Church which should really be replaced or brought to the attention of the appropriate authority. The paving detail here looked really well.
Nature and Biodiversity in your Locality
The management of the grass for pollinators at the entrance to Ardeen Estate was encouraging to see. It could be used as an awareness raising opportunity also with the addition of a 'Managed for Wildlife' sign from the National Pollinator Plan. This sign would inform passer-bys and passing motorists of the reason why the grass is left long. I presume many motorists are stuck in traffic at this location at different times of the day and may be curious about the management of this area. The planting and management opposite the Roselawn estate also was encouraging to see. Again at this location motorists and pedestrians will be stopped at the pedestrian crossing. The lettering on the sign could do with a re paint. It is recommended that Tidy Town groups do a habitat map of what they have and look at best practice management for the different habitats. The Heritage Council has a Conserving and Enhancing Wildlife in Towns and Villages guide which outlines 10 habitats generally found and management of the same. You could do a simple map marking in the different habitats listed in the guide and then use this for your own use and for inclusion in this competition.
Sustainability: Doing more with less
You have listed a number of different projects under this heading to include water conservation, transport, climate action, plastic reduction and composting. A great source of inspiration is https://localprevention.ie/tidy-towns/.
What some groups also find beneficial is to break down this category into waste, water, energy and transport categories and to cover all 4 sub categories each year with new and continuing projects. Keep an eye on the value of small interventions that many people can do to make a change (e.g. Stop Food Waste Challenge). Also keep track of the accumulative savings made over the years and keep your adjudicator informed. Consider putting Greener Cleaning/ Gardening and Luscious Leftovers (www.stopfoodwaste.ie) links and ideas up on your Facebook page at regular intervals.
Tidiness and Litter Control
Well done in tackling the mentioned black spot and taking part in the National Spring Clean. It is always encouraging to see a mix of ages involved in clean ups and the photos of the work at Ardeen speaks volumes. You have also been involved in signage cleaning and a successful river clean up. The election poster free campaign is encouraging also.
Other groups have organised an 'Adopt a Spot' campaign where individuals pledge to clean up a short section, say their boundary properties and a bit more. Similar initiatives and have found that this motivate others to contribute as they feel that they are not the only ones and that each bit will add up to a big area that is maintained. Maybe run a campaign to see if you can get others to make a pledge to Adopt a Spot.
Residential Streets & Housing Areas
Other communities run estate competitions based around the Tidy Town competition with awards for best landscaping, best pollinator planting, best wildlife project, best estate, most improved, best sustainable project etc. Some areas could maybe allow go a little more 'wild' to increase biodiversity. A great source for wildlife gardening is http://www.wlgf.org/ or No Nettles Required, The Truth About Wildlife Gardening by Ken Thompson. Maybe start to map these interventions so you can simply show your adjudicator your progress over the years.
Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes
Your approach roads looked well on adjudication day and the painted communication box caught the eye with its wildlife theme. Areas where there is a wide margin of grass, maybe consider only cutting 3/4 times a year or leave as a meadow with a short grass edge. These areas would benefit from a simple sign indicating that it is managed for wildlife.
It was a pleasure visiting Lucan and I wish you well with your plans for the future.