21 May 2022

Positive use of vacant shops in Manorhamilton highlighted in Tidy Towns report

Hotel needed for North Leitrim

Manorhamilton Castle

Tidy Towns Adjudicator's Report for Manorhamilton.

Community Involvement & Planning / Rannpháirtíocht an Phobail & Pleanáil:
Manorhamilton is welcome to the National Tidy Town Competition 2017. Thank you for your comprehensive, well-documented application. The submission included a completed application form, photographs, streets improvement plan, Wildlife survey, Feasibility Study and coloured maps. The photographs and maps were very much appreciated by the adjudicator and greatly facilitated the visit. Your mentorship approach has proved very successful involving Leitrim Community Council, your local schools and a myriad of voluntary organisations in your community. The involvement with your local engineers sets a headline in how partnership really works and results are to be seen throughout the town. Congratulations to your schools on their involvement in the big clean up and to
the committee on establishing contact with residential areas. We wish the newly formed Junior Tidy Towns success in their endeavours. Your promotion, using local media, the web and Facebook, obviously gets your message across effectively and your focus on environmental and innovative projects with your schools is a great step forward.

Built Environment and Streetscape / An Timpeallacht Thógtha agus Sráid-dreacha:
The Town Centre contains a fine range of well-presented shop fronts and business premises, too many to mention individually. Imaginative colour schemes with attractive signage are a feature throughout the town. Hand painted fascias have a high quality and continue a great local tradition. Your concentration on vacant and derelict properties has proved very effective and substantial progress on their presentation improvements are to be seen at various locations. The presentation of your public, religious and educational buildings has a very good standard and improvements to the public realm have greatly improved their ambience. The Market House and its forecourt now look excellent. Indeed the Courthouse now deserves a similar treatment. The New Line contains an interesting range of buildings. Thompson’s Garage retains a nice character and the barrel-vaulted roof, typical of commercial street buildings of their era, is worthy of preservation. It has an attractive colour scheme and some nice signage on the gable. The adjacent Sculpture Centre, and the row of colourful shop fronts stretching down to the corner of Sean McDiarmada Street, encloses a well presented streetscape on one side. Opposite both old and new Methodist Churches, Baytree House and a beautifully appointed, individual town house, illustrate the mixture of uses and interesting variety of architectural styles that is such an important inheritance of your built environments. These
deserve long term conservation.

Last year’s adjudicator mentioned small buildings and outbuildings, and these, often small scale stores and sheds, retain significant character. Examples of these were observed here on New
Line and adjacent to Bucklands Bridge with their mild iron rusty roofs. Nearby Caz-Cards Gift Shop, with its attractive colour scheme, appropriate signage and interesting gable mural, was admired. Well done on the provision of universal access to all your public buildings and we wish you well on the Heritage Trail proposal in conjunction with your Historical Society and Leader. The appropriate green information signage, used throughout the town, is very attractive and should be retained and developed as it is much more in keeping with rural Ireland than some of the other catalogue signs now found in other towns.

Landscaping and Open Spaces / Tírdhreachú agus Spásanna Oscailte:
You are to be commended on the fine range of hard and soft landscaping projects carried out in recent years. The new footpaths and road surfaces give a great facelift to the inner town. The Market Square, including the repainting of the Market Bar, looks great. A suggestion here would be to extend the paved area across to the Citizen Information Centre. This would have the effect of spatially restoring the visual context of the square, emphasizing pedestrian priority and creating traffic calming. Up at the castle, the large paved open space looks very well and has some nice seating, planted tubs and a sculpture feature. This would seem to be an ideal location for a major sculptural piece, or other point of interest, especially given the town’s sculptural background. Elsewhere, the
planting of incidental open spaces continues and indeed work was underway at the junction of Church Road and Ferguson Street on the day of adjudication. It is good to read of your support for Loughan House Detention Centre and your sourcing of plants from them.

Wildlife, Habitats and Natural Amenities / Fiadhúlra, Gnáthóga agus Taitneamhachtaí Nádúrtha:
The use of vacant shops to help highlight this category is a fine agenda, contributing favourably to two categories. The shop front presentation at the junction was excellent and contained an appropriate dark green colour scheme in a high profile location. Your areas abound with important wildlife habitats and you are to be congratulated on seeking professional advice on the elimination of Japanese Knotweed and the promotion of your Wildlife Meadow and Pollination Plan. It is interesting to read of your proposed conservation proposal for an area of the Owenmore River and that you have an interested Tús operative to conduct a survey to facilitate this objective. Unfortunately on the day of adjudication the river contained an amount of litter and debris nearby the bridge.

Sustainable Waste and Resource Management / Bainistiú Acmhainní agus Dramhaíola Inbhuanaithe:
The list of initiatives submitted under this category is comprehensive and it is encouraging to read that you engage with your youth to assist with the promotion and development of these. Well done to St. Clare’s Comprehensive Junk Kouture Group, ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ and their success at the Helix. The hydroelectric scheme promoted by Seamus Dunbar is somewhat unique and developments here are eagerly anticipated. You are indeed fortunate to have advice and assistance from the Environmental Officer of Leitrim County Council and this contact should prove to be a considerable boost to your efforts in this category in the years ahead. The findings of the ‘Green Initiative’
survey are indeed very interesting.

Tidiness and Litter Control / Slachtmhaireacht agus Rialú Bruscair:
We note your actions regarding Dillon Court and the Bus collections point and hope you will be successful here. Your maintenance and clean-up programme is obviously working well as the town was substantially clean and tidy. Congratulations to your volunteers, Tús workers and Men’s Shed. Your on-going programme on derelict and vacant buildings is very effective and has resulted in a major visual enhancement. The fire station and engineers office are in need of a freshen up and repainting. At the Hospital and contemporary Health Board complex, presentations were neat and tidy. The Famine Graveyard is nicely presented with an array of colourfully planted boxes. At the
atmospheric Fever Hospital grounds, the educational and dignified memorial and Famine Pot was in need of cleaning. This donated, historic pot contained a quantity of rainwater and debris.

Residential Streets & Housing Areas / Sráideanna Cónaithe & Ceantair Tithíochta:
Manorhamilton has a large number of housing areas dispersed throughout the town and all were visited. Generally the standard is good and we note your pro-active approach to on-going maintenance issues. The Children Playground off Castle Street was clean and well-presented and busy during the visit.

Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes / Bóithre Isteach, Sráideanna & Lánaí:
The Sligo approach road is well surfaced; trees, shrubs and floral planting are attractive, verges tidy and altogether presents a welcoming arrival point to Manorhamilton. The inner town surfaces of roads and footpaths are excellent. Improvement works are on-going and we look forward to seeing the finished works. Some very interesting back lanes have significant character, such as Teapot Lane, and could do with a freshen up.

Concluding Remarks:
A most appealing historic town where residents and their Local Authority are successfully combining to promote, develop and sustain the numerous natural and man-made attractions.

                                                                                  Max Mark       2016 Mark      2017 Mark

Community Involvement & Planning                                60                    44                   45
Built Environment and Streetscape                                  50                    31                   33
Landscaping and Open Spaces                                        50                    32                   33
Wildlife, Habitats and Natural Amenities                           50                    22                   23
Sustainable Waste and Resource Management                  50                    17                   18
Tidiness and Litter Control                                              90                    48                    50
Residential Streets & Housing Areas                                 50                    28                   28
Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes                                    50                     31                   32
Total Mark                                                                  450                    253                 262

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