Templemore saw an improvement in its result in the 2017 SuperValu Tidy Town's competition, gaining 7 points over the 2016 result which gave them a total of 293 out of a possible 450 points.
The judges had many positives to report but did caution on the amount of plaques that had been erected in and around the Town Hall and suggested that it was time for a review of these and rearrange them to lessen the cluttered feel that exists at present. They loved that quite a number of the premises on Main Street still retained their original form and features, including some of the residential properties.
The following is the full report from the judges.
Community Involvement & Planning (maximum mark 60, 44 up one from 43 last year)
We see that Templemore Tidy Towns Committee with only 7 members is extremely active and involved in an enormous amount of activities and projects which are of benefit the whole community. We note that you can call on 5 others to volunteer when needed and we encourage you to aim to increase this number as it is always advantageous to get as many as possible to volunteer, even if only for a small project which takes a short time to complete. The more people who are involved in the activities in one way or another helps to give a sense of community spirit which this competition encourages and also gives your organisation a larger presence in the town.
It’s good to see the mention of the Tidy Towns work in the local newspaper The Tipperary Star – keep this up as it gives you profile in the community and may add encourage people to volunteer.
You are lucky to also have a Templemore Development Association and that two of its members are active in your group. We see that in addition to the Templemore Development Association, you have the support of the Municipal District Council, TÚS and Leader. This is very useful and it is good to be able to call on these organisation for assistance and/or advice and funding.
The Green Flag programme is very worthwhile and we see that you are actively involved with the local school. This programme is a wonderful initiate and it inspires children to be conscious of their local environment and to treat it with respect.
Your involvement with the Tidy Towns competition over the past 28 years is to be congratulated and we are pleased to read that you have found it worthwhile and that Templemore has benefited by becoming a more attractive town for locals and visitors alike.
Built Environment and Streetscape (max mark 50, 41 up one from 40 last year):
The formal layout of your town centre makes it a very pleasant place to visit and added to this the well-kept buildings which line the streetscape give it an imposing aura. The area around the Church of Ireland church is historic and the bend in the road with the buildings on either side is very pleasant and welcoming. We loved the advice given on the school plaque ‘Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it’…. how true. The three-dimensional wall plaques produced by the children were wonderful – unfortunately we couldn’t get in to examine them up close.
There are some other fine imposing buildings in Templemore which make a huge addition to the architectural merit of the town – the Catholic church, the Town Hall (with its clock, guns and plaques), Tigh Mhuire, the Allied Irish Bank building, the former orphanage, the convent, the schools, the Garda Station, the Bank of Ireland building, the McAuley Community Centre and lastly the railway station to name but a few.
We caution on the amount of plaques that have ben erected in and around the Town Hall – maybe time for a review of these and rearrange them to lessen the cluttered feel that exists at present.
We also loved that a quite a number of the premises on Main Street still retain their original form and features, including some of the residential properties. Drip moulds to the doors and upper floor windows, arched doorways to rear yards, Wyatt windows, up and down sash windows and oriel windows to first/second floor windows, etc. are very common architectural elements and give the streetscape an interesting and varied character. Shop fronts and/or associated buildings worthy of mention are Foley’s, Nino’s, Mullally’s, Tom Maher’s Inn, the Old Malt House, John Meagher and the Library. Some of the smaller shops and/or associated buildings also deserve a mention – Scizzors Sisters, Mockler Veterinary, Mai’s Boutique, Michael Finn’s and Ryan’s Store. We particularly admired the property nestled in between Mai’s Boutique and Pat Claffey Butcher. While no longer in use as a shop, the entrance doors, shop window and upper floor windows are an absolute delight. We ask that you encourage shop owners to remove unnecessary signage and hanging displays which detract from the façade of these wonderful buildings. We also ask that you encourage them to remove the stick-on signage that is being used on shop windows and to return to a proper window display area. This will make an afternoon or evening stroll through your town more enjoyable and will also be good for their business … there’s nothing like a bit of window shopping to encourage us to spend our money!
The Heritage Trail is a wonderful initiative and the visitor gets to experience the fine architecture of the town while meandering through the streets.
Polly’s Public house deserves a special mention as too does the Templemore College of Further Education for its wonderful creative art work on display in the grounds. Templemore Motors and the Eltek factory are also very impressive and add to the town.
There is some dereliction on Church Street near The Square which we hope that with a rise in the economy will be bought and rebuilt. It is good to hear that the stone wall on the Dunkerrin road is to be rebuilt as it is unsightly at present.
Landscaping and Open Spaces (max mark 50, 40 up one from 39 last year)
What a stunning town park; you have a jewel in your town! It boasts a variety of environments and activities and is well used by the townspeople. We loved the newly created planted area on the site of the old swimming pool. We look forward to this growing and becoming yet another asset in the town’s landscaping. The area beside the beds, however, needs to be completed and grass sown. We suggest a small discrete sign be erected telling the history of the swimming pool. We loved the fairy trail – what a lot of fun children must have entering their world and looking for their houses? We also much admired the single arch limestone pedestrian bridge in the Park – reminiscent of old Roman bridges found in Europe. The area in the centre of the town constructed and planted by the ICA was beautiful and added greatly to that end of the Main Street. Elsewhere in the town grass was neatly cut. Some of the planting beds were full of colour and variety and were a delight. We did however notice that quite a few stone surround planning beds were not being maintained – some located on their own and others around the base of trees. These are in need of attention as they were full of weeds. We suggest that you examine the amount of flower beds that you have at present around the town and if there are too many to be maintained then they should be removed. These take a lot of time to maintain to a suitable standard and sometimes trees and grass can be more suitable. The adult exercise area with the outdoor exercise equipment in the Town Park sponsored by the Lions Club is yet another asset.
Wildlife, Habitats and Natural Amenities (max mark 50, 38 up one from 37 last year)
What a great collection of moorhens, ducks and swans in the Town Park – all being well fed by members of the public. We much admired the various wildflower areas particularly the one along the town park wall – a great display of forget-me-not, meadowsweet, ox-eye daisy, and cornflower.
The information boards in the town park are very good. We loved our walk through the woodland in the Town Park and enjoyed seeing the lake from various viewpoints. This area had a great variety of insect life – could a small discrete notice board be erected informing us of what we can expect to see? Perhaps this could become a project for the transition year students in the local Secondary School – or maybe even a competition? We encourage your involvement in the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan and look forward to reading about you projects in next year’s entry form. We were very happy to see your involvement in the talks on swallows and on house sparrows. Is this something you could also advance with the local schools?
Sustainable Waste and Resource Management (max mark 50, 18 up two from 16 last year)
The ‘No Junk Mail’ stickers which you made available to householders through the local library was a great idea. This category, sustainable waste and resource management, requires commitment from all if this to be successful nationally. To encourage locals and businesses to practice waste minimisation is something in which we all must become involved. While it is excellent to see the recycling initiatives being undertaken, the batteries and used clothes collections etc., this category must include waste minimisation. We see the schools are actively involved in the Green Flag Programme. This is a superb way of getting pupils, teachers and parents involved in the care of the environment and should be strongly encouraged. We loved the book rental scheme of the local girls’ and boys’ national schools. Congratulations to the local IFA for organising the collection of the farm plastic. What did they do with all they collected? The WOW and COW (walk /cycle on Wednesdays) is wonderful – we hope that the pupils are encouraged by parents and teachers to be active in this initiative. All stimulation which the Tidy Towns committee can give to the young people is very welcome and we love hearing that members are committed to assisting the youth and encouraging them in their efforts.
Tidiness and Litter Control (max mark 90, 47 same as last year)
Taking part in the National Spring Clean Campaign also motivates a community to take pride in their area and so you must be congratulated on your involvement. The involvement of the boys’ school on a litter pick is great and it will encourage them to be litter aware.
Generally the town was litter free and looked well. There was evidence of some weeds in various parts of the town but undertaking a programme of weed management will improve this. We see you are encouraging local resident committees to become involved in weed control and planting bed maintenance. Other communities have an estates competition which encourages resident groups to become more involved in their areas and gives healthy competition between the groups. The sign to the town park carpark on the Dunkerrin road needs painting as too do the various gates, bridges etc within the park itself. Litter bins in the park are in need of repair/replacement.
We note your concern regarding the plethora of signs on the Thurles road and we agree with you! Indeed, we found a profusion of temporary signage on all of the approach roads. We suggest that a community notice board be erected on all entrance roads to the town and that organisations be restricted to advertise their events on these alone. All other posters are then considered litter and warrant a fine. We have seen these erected in other towns by the local authority. Tipperary County Council area engineer or environmental department might advise on the possibility of this.
Residential Streets & Housing Areas (max marks 50, 33 up one point from 32 last year)
The residential areas were very pleasant and looked well maintained with individual gardens array with colour.
Some communal planting beds need attention but an hour or so spent one evening by some of the residents would sort that out. Approach them again and encourage the local resident associations to assist in keeping their area litter and weed free. Some of the estates have small communal open green spaces but instead have large individual well maintained gardens which were a profusion of colour with an display of pollinator plants and flowers.
The estates of Cluain Doire, Oakdale, Park Road, Railway View and Má Tine have some excellent individually maintained houses and gardens and are a credit to their owners/occupiers. In one garden in the there was a spectacular display of lilies! There are some very fine properties in Templemore in the Church Avenue area, Talavara and on Richmond road which add to the architectural character of the town.
We were happy to see the narrow fronted three storey residential properties on the main street. It’s wonderful to see that people are resident right in the centre of the town as this gives activity when the shops are closed in the evening and makes for a safe supervised environment for locals and visitors.
Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes (max marks 50, 32 same as last year)
The approach roads are generally well landscaped and inviting. Signage however is a problem - see comment elsewhere. The stone surrounds planting beds at the base of the trees on some of the approach roads (e.g. The Roscrea Road) were unfortunately full of weeds. We suggest either remove the planning beds or commence a programme of maintenance. We much admired the rose bed on the Dunkerrin road which was a profusion of colour.
The road markings and parking layout of the town centre works extremely well. The in - out system controls the traffic movement and allows vehicles to filter onto the street with ease which results in all motorists being accommodated. Road surfaces throughout the town were generally good although some footpaths were broken/unravelling and in need of repair.
It was a pleasure visiting your town and seeing the various projects which you undertook this year. You have a wonderful vibrant town and we look forward to a return visit in the years ahead to see its progress.