Village Tidy Towns Report Synopsis 2011-2016
Category 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016   
Community Involvement Wasn’t a category in 2011 Wasn’t a category in 2012 We are delighted to read that you have a good working relationship with Galway County Council, the Community Employment Scheme and FAS and that assistance is also provided by the VEC, Respond and the Health Board. Consider also contacting Galway Rural Development as they have been very supportive of other tidy towns groups in County Galway. No reference is made in your entry form to other voluntary groups or sports clubs in Lawrencetown. Are they involved in your efforts? Your communication strategy may also benefit from the development of a website as this can be an effective means of informing people about your projects and activities as well as capturing feedback. We are pleased to see that you encourage the school to get involved but we would strongly recommend that joint projects should be considered, particularly in the areas of landscaping, wildlife and waste minimisation as the schools can be an excellent source of ideas and enthusiastic young helpers. It is now appropriate to review the Tidy Towns plan 2011-2014 and establish the priorities for the next 3 years. The projects selected need to pass the stringent test of attainability, can they be achieved having regard to the resources of finance, materials, equipment and manpower to which you have access. Devise a series of projects, next identify the agencies or organisations that can help in their achieving and make early contact to ascertain their willingness to get involved. Finally set a start and finish date for each major project.
Tidy Towns cannot operate in a vacuum so it is worthwhile to explore what aid and assistance is available from the other clubs, organisations and agencies active in your area. Your village is a planned one of great charm, interest indeed fascination. The entry to the village underneath the enthralling over mantel of elegant trees is a delight. The wide avenue like road by the church was very well maintained and we admired greatly the raised flowerbeds. The village is now on the sign posted cycling routes which will help to ensure a bigger throughput of visitors in the coming months and years. A number of houses within the village have yet to secure occupiers.
The nine committee members are getting through a lot of work in attending the meetings and looking after the presentation of your lovely hamlet. Good support is forthcoming from Galway County Council, CES, Respond Housing Association and Stone Company Ltd. The local people are well informed of your plans and activities and this leads to a cohesive approach to achieve a common goal. The contacts with the school are worthwhile and you could assist them when you can notably in the green flag programmes. It is pleasing to find that you manage to keep the village looking attractive and regular improvements are made from participating in the competition. It is good to note the range of groups and statutory bodies with which the committee works and indeed in the whole area of community development. The range of communication methods from traditional to digital is healthy also. It was a real pleasure to visit your village, we value your continued participation.
Build Environment The Church is in pristine condition with the free standing bell, I admired the lovely railing outside.
Lawrencetown NS school was well presented and great to see the green flag there. The Community
Enterprise and Educational Centre is a landmark building on this busy road and positive to see it is being used for progressive purposes. I admired the community hall and grounds. The statue at the crossroads is a great structure, and it needs in the first instance a good washing down and perhaps a professional painting. The sculpture to Padraig Reaney is interesting and is set in a good landscaped plot. There are some derelict houses in the village, and there is not a lot you can do about private property.
Derelict buildings are a problem in Lawrencetown. Have you discussed this with the County Council? They have powers under the Derelict Sites Act that can sometimes be of assistance. It was really interesting to read that the village is based on Bath in Somerset; however the scale is so much smaller. A good colour choice has been used at The Beautiful Bird while to the side of Thermasol, bad weed growth needs attention. The National School is crisply presented but would have been enhanced by some window boxes. The fine limestone building of the Community Enterprise Centre was visited but the path and kerbing here is damaged and needs attention. The Catholic Church is attractively presented but the statue across the road needs to be cleaned. The use of the Irish language on signage is required under present legislation and this should be encouraged where appropriate. On signage the Irish language must have the primary role. Lawrencetown is a very attractive planned village with a rich built heritage and many fascinating buildings and monuments to observe and explore. The adjudicator particularly liked the Lodge House on the Portumna approach and the consistent stone name signs are very impressive. Has a heritage trail with map and information plaques been considered for Lawrencetown? This matter should be discussed with the Heritage Officer of Galway County Council and Galway Rural Development as there appears to be lots of potential for one. The derelict site was also spotted on the Somerset Road (opposite the housing estate with the fenced off area) and it appears untidy looking. Would it be possible to get this boarded up? Like the adjudicator in 2012, we recommend that the Council are contacted for assistance on dealing with problem sites and derelict buildings. The lovely space that accommodates the statue of Diarmuid and Gráinne was admired with its pleasant seating and well maintained green areas. It is disappointing to read that the rate of vacancy has risen in the village and this has made it more difficult to maintain properties. However, it was pleasing to see that the majority of the buildings are in good condition and achieve a good standard of presentation including Pardys and the Beautiful Bird. The central space here was a little disappointing as weed growth was observed and the pump was in need of a fresh coat of paint. The Community Hall and the Church also looked quite well, while the school achieved a very high standard of presentation. We were pleased to see that the committee has also secured permission to repair the eyecatcher at Bellevue. It is further noted that your projects for 2013 included the extension of the footpath on Eyrecourt Road (which was ongoing during adjudication), the welcome demolition of the derelict houses at the west end of the village and the rebuilding of the natural stone wall on the Ballinasloe Road. The entrance gates to the former castle are an imposing element on the approach road. The Health Centre was well presented, the small Post Office looked well and we admired the Beautiful Bird bar with its attractive arch light over the door. Please replace the missing letters in the name. The Catholic Church was colourful and well presented as was the substantial community hall opposite. The national school was neat and orderly. Is it taking part in the Green Flag programme? Pardy’s Lounge Bar was colourful. The substantial Community Enterprise Centre some distances from the village proper was admired. The small church nestles peacefully with a nice exterior wall that will shortly need attention to its paintwork. I admired the statue across from the church and felt that it could be great to paint the vestments blue and white. The school on the Ballinasloe road is well maintained with pleasing landscaping, and the green flag proudly flies outside. Your community centre is beautiful and a credit to the people of Lawrencetown. The shop at the corner is well kept and tidy and it appeared that the post office was closed down. Diarmuid and Gráinne statues are pleasant features. The church premises has significant visual appeal and the hall with its flowering shrubs within the car park also looks well. The school looks reasonably well too. The HSE premises enjoys good maintenance as does the Community Hall. Hopefully the plastic neon fascia sign of the Foodmarket/Newsagent will be replaced upon redevelopment and improvements made to the Beautiful Bird premises. Pardy's Lounge Bar looks quite well. The Thermosol premises could improve both its roof and it's parking area. Well done on work achieved for this year's competition.
Landscaping In this busy village good splashes of landscaping adorn the area, notably at the statue and at the sculpture. The nicely maintained grass stretches along the side of the roads give a freshness and welcoming feeling on approach roads. The fine array of mature trees and stone walls has a permanent landscape appearance.
Some lovely private landscaping compliments your efforts. Graveyards can be badly neglected and well done for your attention to the upkeep of the graveyard.
Landscaping is one of the strong aspects about this Tidy Towns entry. The central green area is impressive but the modern lighting seemed a little out of character in design terms. They would be fine in an urban setting; this is just a personal view. Landscaped areas on all approach roads are also excellently presented and this reflects great credit on the committee and the community. Your adjudicator reminds the Tidy Towns committee that the cutting of roadside banks and ditches in the period 1st March to 30th August is not permitted under Section 40 of the Wildlife Act 1976, incorporating Section 46 of the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000. Some attractive landscaping schemes were observed in Lawrencetown during adjudication. The landscaped bed at the seating area (close to the Diarmuid and Gráinne statue) is most attractive as it adds colour and significantly enhances the appearance of this lovely public space. The public space at the Beautiful Bird did not reach the same standard and it is recommenced that additional landscaping and maintenance is considered in order to improve it. Some additional landscaping should also be considered for the approach road into
Lawrencetown. The landscaped beds at the Community Hall car park also looked very well. You are commended on the other projects you undertook for 2013 which included the maintenance of all grassed areas in the village and approach roads (all of which looked very well) in addition to the fencing off of the problem area in the residential area on Somerset Road.
The Diarmuid and Gráinne Statue by Reaney was greatly admired and as was the well presented area in which they are located. The mini gardens here tended by individual households looked well. There was excellent planting at the Community Garden. There is only small difficulty with a few weeds outside curbs and this impact is limited and adds greatly to the overall neatness of the village presentation. We admire also the flowerbeds and the splendid new modern sculpture at the top of the village.
The Mausoleum in its setting is a most interesting project. Sadly it is increasingly subjected to damage by encroaching vegetation. Is there an appetite within the village to organise a work party to protect it for posterity? The seating along the walk to the cemetery is a great addition and this facility is a significant plus for the village. We admired particularly the area near the Old Forge and the remnants of the well once associated with that activity in the past.
I admired the little community garden with flowers and shrubs growing very well with potentilla, polygonum and bay prominent. It also contains potatoes, rhubarb, onions and fruit bushes, and here also we liked the nice beech hedging. For the most part this entire area needs little intervention as lots of it is a typical rural setting. The small square at the corner has the traditional water pump that is a great historical feature and we admired nice flower beds and trees. There are lots of mature trees all around and we are pleased to find that more young trees are planted. Good quality landscaping is enjoyable on the road going up to the school and there is an impressive tree lined grass margin on the right hand side going towards Ballinasloe The sculpture was admired yet again this year and nicely complemented by the polished granite picnic table and seat. Container Flower displays were colourful and profuse and complement permanent planting. The landscaped area around the water pump is a strong visual amenity. The recently planted hedgerow and trees will enhance biodiversity as the mature. Grassed areas are being beautifully maintained and the picnic site is a nice touch.
Wildlife I agree with your statement that the whole locality is a rich wildlife habitat. You could enlist the assistance of some people that are interested in outdoor pursuits to inform us about all the wildlife that are present in the area. I admired the bird boxes. Your plans for the biodiversity project are interesting and I wish you well with the project. We look forward to further progress on the Nature Walk to the cemetery and do let us have an update for next year. Have you considered a simple wildlife survey of Lawrencetown to find out what wildlife there is in the village and area? Following on from that the development of a Wildlife Trail perhaps combined with a Heritage Trail could be considered. You are commended on your community garden project, which involves developing a community garden on a previously overgrown and underused area. However, we would love to hear more details about this project. Is the purpose of this community garden to grow plants and shrubs for tidy towns projects and landscaping schemes? Or is it intended to grow fruit and vegetables? Please let us know in 2014. It is also stated on your entry form that the main heritage area in the village is the tree lined entrance to the village from Portumna and we were wondering if this is included on the nature trail to the cemetery referred to in the 2012 adjudicators report? Has any further consideration been given to carrying out a wildlife survey of your main heritage area or your heritage and wildlife walk? Perhaps the school would be interested in getting involved in this project? We were welcomed by a brief encounter with a squirrel on arriving in the village. The bird box and feeders are a delighted. As mentioned the pathway to the Cemetery along by the small river and forge is a delight and provides many opportunities for wildlife development. We noted the feeder and box in the amenity area around the “Star Crossed Lovers”. A number of schools have seen it is worthwhile to set aside a small part of their grounds for a nature reserve in which bird boxes and even bat boxes would be positioned. Undoubtedly gardening is a skill and interest once acquired that will becomes a lifelong activity providing pleasure, enjoyment and benefit to the participants and the wider community. I paid a visit to Lisheen Graveyard and was pleased with its presentation with nice boundary walls and old fashioned stiles, and the mausoleum is a great historical structure. The passageway is maintained in good condition and makes for comfort for the pedestrians. This is a haven for wildlife with a variety of birds singing and twirping merrily in the native hedgerows. The old well is a reminder of a bygone day and the seating in the green there provides a perfect place for relaxation. Unfortunately some empty alcohol bottles were dumped over the side of the lovely small bridge, and this behaviour is now a feature of modern Irish society and is not restricted to your lovely hamlet. Work accomplished for Bog Walks together with walks within the environs of the village is invaluable for the recreational amenity status of Lawrencetown. The installation of an information panel on the flora and fauna of the walks within the village centre would be an added bonus. The management of both burial grounds is also impressive. Perhaps school children could take on a project under the National Pollination Plan for next year's competition. Be aware also of invasive species, check if these are present and if so get expert advice on their management. Your adjudicator also finds rookeries and the associated 'disturbance' an exciting event.
Sustainability I inspected the recycling centre where the five bins were well serviced and located in a neat and tidy place. With the schoolchildren engaged in the green flag programmes the people of Lawrencetown will have a better understanding of the local environment, I read all about their activities and there is a lot going on in that school. Thank you for the detailed report from the school which indicates that they have eleven projects in place relevant to this adjudication category. This category is about the reduction of the amount of waste generated in Lawrencetown each year. Perhaps the school children could lead a wider community investigation of the waste issue. This emphasis in this tidy towns category is on waste minimisation and elimination. The onus is on Tidy towns groups to come up with innovative ways to raise awareness of the need to minimise and eliminate waste in their communities and to come up with actions that can help to achieve this. In order to raise awareness, a waste minimisation seminar or composting workshop should be organised with the aid of Galway County Council. Alternatively, waste minimisation tips can be made available by the tidy towns group – although it is best if this is done through websites as this approach will reduce paper wastage. Actions that could be considered by the group to minimise waste include growing your plants, making your compost and harvesting your own rain water. Recycled materials (such as wood, stone, paint, etc) should also be used where possible in your tidy towns projects. The central theme of this category is to invite the community at large to examine ways and means they can best utilise scares resources to the optimum. Your use of the rainwater collected from the roof of the sheds beside the Community Garden for watering the plants is precisely the sort of creative thinking invited. Would the school cooperate with a survey at individual household level comparing the amount of food purchased with that actually consumed? Surveys elsewhere have suggested that up to one third of food purchased is not consumed and represents an absolute waste the household. The local authority or through an agency they can suggest may be willing to stage a meeting to discuss these aspect in a public forum in the village. Composting is a valuable service and leaves and fresh grass are particularly fruitful when mixed. However grass cannot be stored so it is necessary firstly to gather the leave in autumn and then mix those with the fresh cut grass of spring and early summer. The resulting compost is extremely valuable and nutritious. The recycling centre is spotlessly clean. The EU Waste Management Hierarchy is elimination, reduction, reuse, recycle and there are many ways of doing all of this. Carrying out some sort of waste awareness survey or distributing a questionnaire would give people a starting point in terms of waste prevention. Groups can take many steps to reduce the level of resources used and become more efficient at using materials, while at the same time reducing waste generation. Bulk buying and avoiding disposable products, using local libraries and repairing goods are all ways of being more resource efficient. With the children involved in the excellent green schools initiatives we can study what they are doing in the schools and carry it forward ourselves. All the trees have huge amounts of leaves in the autumn / winter and most of this could be collected and composted. Composting is the way forward and you could further educate the people on how best to do this, by for instance, holding a workshop that demonstrates that to achieve the best results we must mix green kitchen waste with brown waste like hedge clippings, and also by turning it occasionally; more information is available on this from the county council. Compost reduces the amount of waste going to landfill, and produces good material for the vegetable and flower gardens, plus it cuts down on spending money on such like material. The collection of scrap metal from householders such as old steel beds, wheelbarrows, bicycles, gates, galvanised iron etc and bringing it to central point could earn money for your activities as there are plenty registered dealers in scrap metal who could buy it from you, and reduce the risk of it being thrown in ditches etc. The recycling point is being neatly managed, the working relationship with Galway Co Co is fruitful in this respect. The Community Garden development is noted favourably, there is something very satisfying in growing your own flowers from seeds . Well done to the school children for their work in the Green Schools program, the community is
and Natural Amenities
Litter control is excellent in Lawrencetown, the Springtime Community Clean - up has obviously raised awareness and the regular Monday litter patrols are effective; no doubt litter is segregated for recycling. Try to maintain all stretches of kerb free of weed growth. Work accomplished for the Gate Lodge is acknowledged. Overhead service cables which diminish the visual amenity of the streetscape are noted. All involved in the National Spring Clean are to be commended. It is good to note the absence of posters on poles. Congratulations on the demolition of the derelict building.
flowers from seeds . Well done to the school children for their work in the Green Schools program, the community is indebted to them. Log onto the EPA's new web site for more ideas on green living and competing successfully under this heading. The liaison with the wind farm project manager is excellent.
Litter / Tidy You are obviously paying a lot of attention to the control of the litter, as only a few bits were found near the sculpture and on the road near the Enterprise centre which obviously came from a passing car. The village was presented in a tidy fashion. The derelict houses have a bad effect on the area. Some of the road signage was dirty and therefore untidy. The Health centre was well presented neat and tidy. Good to see you are taking action of the illegal dumping in the area around the bog. Litter control was quite good with just a little litter noted to the side of Thermasol. The Bring Centre was quite tidy but the three poles supporting the large sign should be painted dark green. How is litter disposed of in Lawrencetown? Do you have regular litter patrols?
Signage was quite clean and had obviously been washed recently. Past the Monument the closed house development should be screened from public view pending completion. If possible plastic signage would be best removed by the owners and hand painted signage put in place. To the side of the school a very muddy area needs urgent attention. Near the Monument the house development should be screened from public view if works are not ongoing.
We note from your application form that weekly litter collections take place in Lawrencetown and these are clearly effective as the standard of litter control observed was very good. Do the school help out with your litter picking activities? Well done also on monitoring the bring centre on a more regular basis as the closer attention given to it is working – it was spotless during adjudication.
We note from your entry form, that your projects under this category include; maintaining road signs on a regular basis, removing weed from roadsides and kerbs and taking down advertising signage. The committee are to be commended on this work as most areas in the village were free from weeds and the signage generally looked very well. However, weed persisted in some highly visible locations such as the central space in front of the Beautiful Bird while the pavement in front of the house that is under construction was also very weedy and untidy looking.
The related activities of litter control and tidiness have been amalgamated this year into one composite category. Compliments on the total absence of litter throughout the village. In common with every village you have a number of houses awaiting occupiers and there is an abandoned house on Summerset Road. The village generally is neat and orderly but the now no longer required plastic sign at Curly’s ought to with advantage be removed. You are complimented for the presentation of your area in great condition and on adjudication day there was no litter visible. A few galvanised iron shed roofs need attention but these are private property and there is not a lot that you can do. The local people show a distinct pride in their place to keep it in such great condition for themselves and for the huge volume of passing traffic. Litter control is excellent in Laurencetown, the Springtime Community Clean - up has obviously raised awareness and the regular Monday litter patrols are effective; no doubt litter is segregated for recycling. Try to maintain all stretches of kerb free of weed growth. Work accomplished for the Gate Lodge is acknowledged. Overhead service cables which diminish the visual amenity of the streetscape are noted. All involved in the National Spring Clean are to be commended. It is good to note the absence of posters on poles. Congratulations on the demolition of the derelict building.
Streets and Houses Hopefully you will get some success with the derelict houses. There are some well kept houses up from the sculpture. The houses around the village are well maintained and some had great displays of shrubs, trees, flowers and lawns. Hanging baskets and other flower arrangements adorned the houses around the church. Housing areas were reasonably well presented. At the housing estate above the Monument a long stained wall needed to be power hosed or otherwise cleaned. The grass areas here were nicely presented. Good landscaping at Castle Lawns caught the eye. Other private houses were well presented. The standard of presentation for individual houses and gardens in Lawrencetown was generally good on adjudication. While individual houses and gardens in the Castlelawn estate looked well, it was let down somewhat by an untidy landscaping bed at the entrance with weed blocker showing.
Houses throughout the village were very well presented and a number featured colourful window boxes. We admired the grey well painted house with window boxes and a delightful arch light over the front door. A range of fine houses were encountered from the Community Hall to the junction of Eyrecourt, Banagher Road. The housing estate on the Summerset Road was well presented and a number of householders have made commendable efforts in their gardens. There are some lovely town style houses and some displayed nice window boxes of flowers. A number of other houses around the area are splendid with the ones going out past the church in wonderful condition and most picturesque. The county council housing estate was presented in an orderly condition. The small residential development features nicely grassed areas to boundary walls and well painted boundaries in some instances. Some townhouses are beautifully painted to their roadside facade. The entrance to the Castle Lawns estate is nicely landscaped, some of the internal dividing walls within the estate are a little weather stained and would look better if planted with the climbing plant. Difficulties with vacant properties are acknowledged however congratulations on work achieved to date in this regard. No doubt the two new dwellings under construction will be presented to the same high standard prevailing in Lawrencetown currently.
Roads The roads are in good condition, and the well trimmed grass margins are admired. Some road signage are faded and in need of attention from Galway County Council. The extension of the footpath along the Eyrecourt road is welcomed. There are some interesting bridges and good to see you paying attention to them. The approach roads are a real strength of Lawrencetown and the presentation was excellent. Good grassy verge areas have been developed and these are being very well maintained. The fantastic long tunnel like approach through the trees from the Portumna side is rather unusual in Ireland. The approach road from the Community Enterprise Centre to the village needs a lot of work. Weed growth was evident at the base of the roadside stone wall and banks had not been cut. The approach to Lawrencetown from Portumna is a delight with lovely arching mature trees lining the road and giving a good first impression to the visitor. The attractive bilingual name stone and carefully maintained road verges and footpath help to reinforce this positive view. The Ballinasloe approach was also impressive and the rebuilt natural stone wall was admired. The verges on the Somerset Road and the Eyrecourt road did not achieve this high standard as the verges needed to be trimmed. The impact of the approach from Portumna is thoroughly awesome with flickering sunlight through the overhanging trees. The 50kmp signs were clean and neat but the poles would benefit from washing and repainting. The Summerset Road had an amount of weeds outside the curb and again while the speed limit signs themselves were fine their poles would need attention. We admired the Lawrencetown ‘Failte’ signs on the approach roads. Your constant strimming on approach roads has added greatly to the overall presentation. There is good car parking facilities at the community centre. We admired wonderful traditional stone walls in Lawrencetown with a beauty across from the school on the Ballinasloe road. Road surfaces are good with clean and distinct signage and markings. The footpaths are comfortable for the pedestrians with a long stretch on the Eyrecourt road leading up to the school.
The canopy of trees on one entrance to the village is appealing with its dappled light and rays of sunshine. Where possible natural stone walls should be refurbished and highlighted as a handsome feature of the village. Nameplates, Failte stones and other road signage look well in general however the finger post at the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary could be cleaned and one on the Ballinasloe Road needs refurbishment. Try to have field gates painted a similar themed colour. All elements of the Ballinasloe approach and entrance to the village have a well-managed appearance.
General You are making progress in all the categories of the competition. The ambitious plans that you have will greatly enhance this picturesque village. Lawrencetown is an attractive village that has some very positive characteristics and this adjudicator urges the community to become more deeply committed to the competition. This will benefit Lawrencetown and everyone who lives there. Your committee of ten is large though slightly fewer than that reported last year. It is suggested that you add texting and email to your communications media. For next year it would help if the entry form was more precise in relation to the work carried out in the past year. Each project in the entry form should be numbered and these numbers keyed to the map. Thank you for the TidyTowns Plan. It is suggested that the ten adjudication categories are used as a plan framework. For each project the year of targeted implementation should be given together with possible groups or agencies that might support the project.
Have you talked to the LEADER Partnership about possible project support?
We are delighted to see that, despite the challenges that it faces, Lawrencetown continues to improve in the tidy towns competition and we look forward to visiting you again in 2014. Compliments to all who have assisted in this year’s fine presentation. We were delighted with the condition of your village and congratulations for your great achievements. Lawrencetown is a charming village and a visit is amply rewarded, we look forward to many more adjudications