Wednesday 16 October 2019

Six-mark increase and bronze medal in Millstreet Tidy Towns report

Millstreet Matters

John Tarrant

The enthusiastic Millstreet Tidy Town Association earned a welcome six mark increase and a bronze medal in the national competition.

Marks are hard to come, Millstreet jumping from 321 to 327 marks is enhanced by the positive reaction from the Tidy Towns adjudicator, together with a number of exciting developments in the pipeline, augurs well for the future.

The outcome gives a dedicated Millstreet Tidy Towns Association the impetus to strive for further success after obtaining a bronze medal and retaining its premier category status in North Cork. A synopsis of the adjudicators' report reads:

Community - Your Planning and Involvement

You are lucky to have a committee of 18 and 25 volunteers, liaising with a range of organisations including Cork County Council, Coillte, IRD Duhallow etc., using a range of methods to communicate with your community including personal visits to premises, It's great to read the efforts are helping the town to grow and prosper, through co-operation of members the community.

Streetscape & Public Places

There are many fine and well-presented premises on the main street including the Cinnamon Coffee Shop, the Wallis Arms, the Clara Inn and Duggan's.

St Patrick's RC Church is an imposing building with an attractive interpretive panel at the church entrance.

The landscaped entrance to Duggan's Hardware looks well, the pedestrian crossing outside St Patrick' Church is well done. There is a lot of street furniture in this area with the interpretive panel, chair, planters and fencing. The mural on Mill Lane is lovely, the Old Creamery is a beautiful building and it was complemented by the planting with geraniums and roses out front. The landscaped entrance to the Green Glens and Drishane Estate looks very well.

Green Spaces and Landscaping

Millstreet was awash with colourful planting on adjudication day, the new contemporary timber and steel planters attractive - move towards more contemporary planting in these planters by using more perennials and aiming for a more naturalistic style.

You have already made a start by including more pollinator-friendly perennials in your planting schemes. The planters on either side of the door of the RC church were lovely, the colour scheme complemented the stone of the building.

The build outs with trees on the main street and on the Mallow Road work well and the shrubberies at the base were in good condition.

The Town Park is a fantastic amenity and very well maintained, its good to read that there is a more biodiversity-friendly approach to landscaping by including pollinator-friendly plants in your landscaping schemes.

Nature and Biodiversity in your locality

The biodiversity plan covers 2019- 2021, it would be helpful if the document featured recommendations in a plan form.

It's good to read that Millstreet Boys National School have adopted the pollinator plan as part of their curriculum. The mention of pollution control and habitat improvement projects in relation to water quality of local rivers is very interesting while the wildflower area in the pollinator park looked stunning on adjudication day with abundant oxeye daises. This park contains some nice flowers and shrubs but there is a lot of gravel for a 'biodiversity' area.

The park was a good solution for a previously derelict site but maybe it could be more manageable. I did notice that there are some pollinator-friendly plants within some of the town flowerbeds. This could be extended each year to make your planting more sustainable and wildlife-friendly.

How about running events to highlight and celebrate your local natural heritage such as a nature walk during heritage week or a dawn chorus event in May?

Sustainability - doing more with less

The GIY schemes are noted, they require a lot of work and dedication. Growing our own food helps us and our communities become more sustainable. The Smart Store initiative sounds like a great idea and the survey results were noted. How did you communicate the results with your community?

It might be an idea to run the survey again in the future to see if it has made an impact on people's behaviour. A Conscious Cup campaign is an excellent idea.

Tidiness and Litter Control

Millstreet was spotless on adjudication day, no dog fouling noted, the campaign appears to be working well. Many commercial premises and residential areas are well-presented and it's good to reward efforts with Best Frontage Award. The weekly clean-ups that involve the wider community, including newer community members, are making an impact as very little litter was spotted, weeds and debris from Keale Bridge were removed

Waste is segregated in little pick-ups and record weight of each category of waste is a great way to monitor waste produced and discarded. St. Mary's Cemetery is looking well after a thorough refurbishment.

There is little clutter on the main street in Millstreet but there is some signage on the footpaths which should be monitored to be sure it doesn't become an obstruction.

Residential Streets & Housing Areas

There are many attractive residences along the main street in Millstreet and approach roads. A strong sense of pride of place is evident as many houses are well-presented with nice gardens and floral displays. You are tackling the difficult issue of dereliction with the Dulux Paint Scheme.

There are several nice residential areas including Ard Aonigh, which has nice birch trees and Hypericum at the entrance and neat green spaces in Murphy's Terrace and Tanyard Wood.

Approach roads, streets & lanes

The approach roads to Millstreet are well-maintained with good name signs, stone planters and colourful planting that produce a good impression on the visitor.

Trees are a feature on the approach roads, including the mature beech on Station Road and the trees in the build outs on the Mallow Road. Hedgerows have been well-trimmed at the right time of year.

The network of backstreet laneways are part of the rich heritage of the town and are maintained free of litter and weeds.

The upgrade of the approach road to the Walkers Bridge was noted.