Tidy Towns — 09 September 2014

Community Involvement & Planning / Rannpháirtíocht an Phobail & Pleanáil:

Trim Tidy Towns were awarded a gold medal in this year’s competition. Having worked for this award for a number of years members of the group were delighted with the result.
Brian Heffernan said this placed Trim up with the best in the competition within touching distance of Westport and Killarney. He said there was more work to be done but the town was now achieving major results. He thanked everybody involved in the work including the volunteers, workers, residents associations, council staff, outdoor staff, Meath County Council, Supervalu, sponsors and everybody who helped keep Trim tidy and clean. Brian said that to go to the next level required more volunteers and more funds. Plans are in place for a Junior Tidy towns group and the group are working on a Biodiversity plan for the town. A looped walk is planned for the Porchfields and more landscaping and tree planting is also proposed.

Brian said that this was a major triumph for the town of Trim and he hoped that it would help market the town as a potential site for new enterprises and investment. “We need to keep Trim looking good all year round. We have volunteers on the streets every day of the year.”

Trim Tidy Towns Committee is very welcome to the 2014 Tidy Towns Competition. It was a number of years since this adjudicator had the pleasure of visiting the town in their capacity as Tidy Towns judge. It was marvellous to note that the town has developed further since last visiting but still maintains its wonderful charm. Many thanks for your completed entry form and map which were most useful on that day. Your aim to simplify the visit and make it easier to cross reference things was greatly appreciated. The new 2014 map is certainly preferable in terms of scale, at a3 size, making it easier to read. However, this adjudicator’s preference would be for a clear legend or key on the map itself, identifying the various projects, rather than having to cross reference it to another sheet. Perhaps it would be advisable to clearly change the font on the application form so that the adjudicator can easily identify which sections are your answers. The bullet points and photographs certainly were clear and easy to follow. Colour coding was also very helpful. It was good to note that you have a strong relationship with many businesses within the town as well as community groups such as youth clubs, scouts and the Festival Group, as well as residents associations etc. It was good to hear of your representation on the Black Friary community dig committee – that is certainly exciting! Fortnightly meetings throughout the year are excellent and it was good to note that Trim Tidy Towns operate daily all year round. As you correctly point out it is essential that the town is presented well throughout the year for the benefit of all the community rather than just yearly for the Tidy Towns judge! You would appear to have a strong relationship with Meath county council and to be involved in a lot of fund raising. Good luck with your application to the Tree Council of Ireland and the Grow it Yourself fund for funding next year. The Porchfields historic and nature trails are a wonderful project. It was good to hear that the local businesses offer donations in order to help with your work. You also appear to have a good relationship with Trim Area Council. The Meath Tidy Towns support project is a marvellous idea. Providing a strong visibility profile is excellent and we were delighted to hear of your website and Facebook pages. Having a school liaison officer is a great idea and it was good to hear that you also work with Youthreach and Cu la Bula. The shredded paper initiative with the primary school etc is interesting. It is marvellous to hear that you have been entering the competition every year since it began and have only missed one year.

Congratulations on your top 10 position in the Tourism Towns competition and winning the overall prize in the Irish Business Against Litter’s Cleanest Town in 2011. It certainly was a marvellous achievement to be in National Geographic magazines “Top 10 Places Globally that will Change your Child’s Life”. The adjudicator notes that you feel you have reduced the size of this application and associated attachments but it could be even more succinct

Built Environment and Streetscape / An Timpeallacht Thógtha agus Sráid-dreacha:

We were delighted to read of your policy to present your heritage sites to their best possible advantage. Using brightly coloured paint to cheer places up is also a marvellous idea. It is always pleasing to note that you upgrade and improve by reading the previous years report. This is witnessed by work to the tourist office and the courthouse etc. The “Before and after” photographs clearly show the improvements made. We were delighted to hear of your funding for the Linear Park trail– good luck in this regard. The proposed Trim Porchfields historic and nature trails sound like a marvellous initiative. We look forward to seeing the first Canoe Trail in the country. The marvellous Trim Castle looked magnificent on the day, with its grassy banks of well maintained open spaces. The Trim Castle Hotel opposite was well presented. Your various trails for tourists including the Sculpture Trail, the Wildlife Flora and Fauna trail and the Historic Trail are all marvellous concepts. The modern Trim Retail Park on the Navan road was etc. The “Before and after” photographs clearly show the improvements made. We were delighted to hear of your funding for the Linear Park trail– good luck in this regard. The proposed Trim Porchfields historic and nature trails sound like a marvellous initiative. We look forward to seeing the first Canoe Trail in the country. The marvellous Trim Castle looked magnificent on the day, with its grassy banks of well maintained open spaces. The Trim Castle Hotel opposite was well presented. Your various trails for tourists including the Sculpture Trail, the Wildlife Flora and Fauna trail and the Historic Trail are all marvellous concepts. The modern Trim Retail Park on the Navan road was neatly presented. James Griffiths pub looked very tempting with its cheerful umbrellas outside! The beauty clinic on High Street has a fresh and attractive shop front. The barbershop was quite fresh. Do ensure that the render is not removed from traditional vernacular shopfronts. This is not only incorrect from a conservation point of view but can lead to problems with water penetration. The attractive window boxes and hanging baskets at Ulster Bank looked magnificent, and the library also looked very pretty. The adjacent ecclesiastical building with the yellow door was admired. Old Brdge Tearooms looked very sweet and there was an abundance of hanging basket at the bridge. Sally Rogers bar – particularly its gable wall –and Brogans looked fine but could be repainted before next year’s competition. One or two plastic signs were still in evidence – do ensure that these are removed and replaced with ones of a more traditional timber variety. The brick Bank of Ireland looked well. A half finished building on Emmet Street created a negative impression. Expert Hardware was quite fresh and displayed its wares outside. Lynch’s is an attractive traditional pub front. Trim Tennis Club and entrance looked well as did the entrance to the GAA grounds. The boundary wall of the graveyard had yet to be painted. St Mary’s convent national school looked well and the Church was rather smart. The Town Council building is striking and wonderfully modern, yet fits in well with the general streetscapes. St Joseph Community House grounds looked well and the Tourist office was very fresh. The unusual lamp standards on the Castle Road were admired.

Landscaping and Open Spaces / Tírdhreachú agus Spásanna Oscailte:

The various monuments throughout the town looked very well on that day – of note being the sculpture of the Man on the Horse which commemorates your previous win in the competition. The Wellington Monument was well presented with attractive floral displays. The Knightsbrook roundabout sculpture, “At the end of the day”, is certainly a very unusual one. The Ard na Boinne landscaping is also most attractive. The roundabout with the village pump on the Dublin site of the town was admired. We were delighted to hear that you have planted indigenous trees and hedging throughout. The flower towers and hanging baskets were noted throughout and made a colourful impact. Do ensure that you don’t rely too heavily on seasonal planting but consider planting for year-round effect. The well trimmed grass verges and hedging opposite to Trim Retail Park made a positive impact. A marvellous landscape space has been created adjacent to the traffic lights on the Navan Road. The tiered floral displays on Market Street looked quite magnificent on the day. The rose garden to the front of Youthreach looked quite charming and was
admired. The Ceard Scoil could be repainted before next year’s competition. A village pump was simply presented at the roundabout. The timber sculpture on Castle Street looked well. Some magnificent landscaping was evident at Mill Lane in the vicinity of the bridge and the marvellous park on the Dublin Road looked very well.

Wildlife, Habitats and Natural Amenities / Fiadhúlra, Gnáthóga agus Taitneamhachtaí Nádúrtha:

Your Biodiversity Through Tidy Towns Workshops are a marvellous initiative. The long term Biodiversity Plan for Trim is also a good approach to this category of the competition. Work in relation to protected species surveys of otters etc and the studies of invasive species are almost important. The fact that you recognise and focus on the Boyne as being categorised as a Special Area Of Conservation is commendable. The various trails such as the proposed Trim Porchfields historic and nature trails, the Canoe Trail and the Linear Park Trail are all wonderful
ideas. The Bug Hotel, bird boxes, bat survey and wildlife flora and fauna map re-publication are all positive developments in this category.

Sustainable Waste and Resource Management / Bainistiú Acmhainní agus Dramhaíola Inbhuanaithe:

Your hard work with Boyne Valley Activities is applauded. Their work in relation to consulting with schools and businesses in the area to raise awareness is truly excellent. Congratulations to Knightsbrook Hotel and Trim Castle Hotel for their provision of green hospitality. It was pleasing to read of the various schools progress in relation to green flag status. Congratulations to Trim Recycle Centre for their Rehab Glassco Civic Amenity Sites Centre of the Year award. Your Stop Food Waste challenge is an interesting idea and we look forward to hearing of progress in
this regard. The self-watering flower towers and hanging baskets are a clever and time-saving idea. Rainwater harvesting is also an excellent proposal, given the future water charges. Good luck with your Every Can Counts initiative. The poly tunnels be of great benefit to your work.

Tidiness and Litter Control / Slachtmhaireacht agus Rialú Bruscair:

It was pleasing to read of your success in relation to Billboard signage removal. Work in relation to kerbsides was noted and worthwhile. The purchasing of the grass edger machine will be very helpful to your work. The naming and shaming of election poster offenders is a good idea. Daily litter patrols are at an excellent initiative. Your continuing campaign against gum litter is commendable and it was good to note that you have access to a gum buster machine. It certainly is impressive to note that Trim Tidy Towns are the only cleaners of the town at weekends –
congratulations is due to all concerned. Congratulations on your third place in Meath anti Litter league. A minor outbreak of weeds was evident at kerbsides on the Navan road.

Residential Streets & Housing Areas / Sráideanna Cónaithe & Ceantair Tithíochta:

It was unfortunate to note that council estates and green areas are longer being maintained by council workers due to cutbacks. It was interesting to hear that these are being taken over by residents association –we wish them good luck in their work. The Residents Associations obviously have a high level of commitment given that they are involved in Spring Clean days. The unfinished estate at The Gallops was being worked on on the day. Work by the council in relation to the Maudlinvale estate is commendable. It was delightful to read of your own Local Pride of

Place competition and its success. The attractive individual brick houses on the Navan road were admired. Some of the housing estates along this road did not appear to have signage – this would be important to help identify them. Hamilton Place along this road was beautifully presented with a most attractive landscaped space. The freshly luck in their work. The Residents Associations obviously have a high level of commitment given that they are involved in Spring Clean days. The unfinished estate at The Gallops was being worked on on the day. Work by the council in relation to the Maudlinvale estate is commendable. It was delightful to read of your own Local Pride of Place competition and its success. The attractive individual brick houses on the Navan road were admired. Some of the housing estates along this road did not appear to have signage – this would be important to help identify them. Hamilton Place along this road was beautifully presented with a most attractive landscaped space. The freshly painted houses in attractive tones near Antonia’s bookshop were admired. The little cottage with tin roof on Emmet
Street should be repainted when it is sold. Manorlands estate was well presented. The garden adjacent to St. Loman’s GAA was admired. A pretty cottage and garden on Patrick Street looked well, as did one opposite Trim Castle. The pretty gabled cottages on Castle Street looked marvellous with their abundant hanging baskets. Ard na Boinne had some magnificent landscaping.

Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes / Bóithre Isteach, Sráideanna & Lánaí:

Approach roads were generally well cared for the the day. We were pleased to read of the undergrounding of cables, new footpaths and new street layouts by the council. It was good to hear of resurfacing having taken place in the summer of 2013. The painting of agricultural gates along the Ring Road was an excellent idea. It was good to note that you consider pedestrians as well as traffic under this heading. Along the Navan approach it was noted that that verges had been cut to a metre width and then allowed to grow wilder further in. Do ensure that dead grass is
removed once cut. The welcome to Trim stone monument was admired and well presented. This approach affords the visitor a magnificent view to the ruined abbey. Some weeds were noted on kerbsides the Kinnegad Road.

Second Round Adjudication:

It was a great pleasure to visit Trim and this adjudicator enjoyed a stroll through the centre of your attractive town with its focal point being the impressive edifice of Trim Castle. The view from the top of the Castle ramparts provided an excellent vista over the town and makes one appreciate the role the river played in the development of the town. The documentation provided has been commented on by the first adjudicator but we agree that you have a little more work to do to get the map just right. A map based on an OS sheet can be of more benefit to the adjudicator as it is easier to judge distances when walking around the town especially where projects to be visited lay outside the immediate town centre. Approach roads and entrances to Trim enjoyed excellent maintenance and presentation on the day of our second visit, roundabouts in particular looked most attractive. We agree with the first round adjudicator that the Kinnegad Road can be improved but seeing as the Gallops Housing development is showing signs of being completed we are sure in future years this approach will be much improved. In the short term kerbside weeds need attention as do weeds to the base of boundary walls along this stretch. The town parking rates sign here needs the overhanging vegetation cut back. Is there a need in this day and age to have such signage cluttering up the approaches? Most people now will expect to pay for key town centre parking? The entrance to the St Lomans GAA grounds however were very well presented. Some road markings in the town need to be repainted in places as at the charming pump at the Ring Road roundabout and from Finnegans Way to Castle Street, as so many visitors cross the road here. Any litter that was noted was minimal and consisted mainly of cigarette ends particularly around the low wall and bus stop between the visitor centre and the entrance to the castle. This needs to be addressed as it is such a prominent spot for visitors to the town but we understand you alone are cleaning the town at the weekend so it is a big undertaking for you. Well done to all involved in this effort. Could the bins and tank to the rear yard to the visitor centre be screened somehow as again they are visually very prominent at the base of the marvellous castle walls. Residential properties through out the town were well presented and the new colour scheme to the historic terrace at Castle Street certainly enlivened the street. Commercial properties were also looking fine with the witty and well maintained façade of Fox’s Bookmakers admired as was the simple shop front at Re-loved and the photo of town events at John Spicers is a good use of the shop frontage. The Steps pub is in a prominent position at the junction with the Wellington Memorial and could do with some work. This adjudicator especially appreciated the simple use of the limestone kerb and stone paving used throughout the core historic town. It complemented the castle beautifully. The use of limestone kerbing through the town out past the residential areas at Loman Street and Haggard Street continued on this simple theme of a good quality simple palette of materials. Continue this simple palette in all future upgrades of streets to ensure you keep up the quality of design in your street-scapes.

Overall Trim enjoys excellent maintenance and presentation and has much to offer residents and visitors in recreational and visual amenity; this is a fine achievement considering the large number of people out and about on the day of second adjudication which was also the day of a vintage car rally in the town. I fully endorse the comments and report of this years first round adjudicator and congratulate your committee and all involved in this years submission.

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