Tidy Towns Competition 2021

Adjudication Report

Centre:    Cratloe - An Chreatalach    Ref:  2059

County:   Clare                                   Mark:  237

Category:  B                                       Date(s):  06/08/2021

                                        Max      Mark

Community - Your Planning          60           32

Streetscape & Public Places        60           32

Green Spaces and Landscaping  60           30

Nature and Biodiversity                50           27

Sustainability                                50           12

Tidiness and Litter Control           90           50

Residential Streets & Housing      50           27

Approach Roads, Streets             50           27

TOTAL MARK                              470         237

Community – Your Planning and Involvement / An Pobal - Pleanáil agus Rannpháirtíocht:

Cratloe - An Chreatlach 2059 Clare B 32 Fáilte Chuig Comórtas na mBailte Slachtmhara Super Valu 2021. Táimid buíoch daoibh as ucht na hiontrála a chur chugainn. Go raibh maith agaibh as ucht bhur dtacaíocht le linn na paindéime.

Lean leis an dea-obair. Thank you for participating In Ireland’s longest-running environmental project and helping to make Ireland a better place. We really appreciate all the great work that you do and the effort you put in, year on year.

 

Speaking of effort, it’s clear that an awful lot went into this, your first ever entry to Tidy Towns. Welcome Cratloe! For a first go, this is a great piece of work. It’s very easy to read and it’s clear that you’re well organised. You’re well-supported too with a goodly list of organisations and funding schemes that you can list. Your priority projects for your inaugural year are the Cratloe Community Plan (2021-2023), the launch of Cratloe Tidy Towns this last March and the Biodiversity Training Course with Clare Local Development Company. Of this last, more later. We really enjoyed looking through some of the videos that you have posted. The Covid-19 Heritage walkabouts were excellent. It was really interesting to see how your Community Development Plan evolved too.

 

Some suggestions for your entry form next year: if you can, see if you can include relevant photographs within the text pertinent to the category. We acknowledge that you’ve provided ample photographs and reference same in the text but having them It helps us readers to visualise and assess. Page numbers would also be an addition. These are little things but they do help. Do please be aware that the Tidy Towns competition is bound up with sustainability and we are asking participants to identify where they believe their work and initiatives meet particular Sustainable Development Goals. If you could make this clear in next year’s entry, that would be great.

 

Your maps are super and this adjudicator feels that were we in Cratloe, we’d be able to find everything no bother. It’s good to read of your enthusiasm for Tidy Towns and that you can already see progress ‘on the ground.’

Streetscape & Public Places / Sráid-Dreach & Áiteanna Poiblí:

Your first year and you already have much to report on in this category. One of your more significant buildings – St. John’s Church and walls have been painted by your Tús crew, fair play to them. This is one of the few ‘barn churches’ still extant and is a lovely piece of heritage for you to be looking after. Another piece of history is your grotto which you are also managing. There are indeed too mnay projects here for the adjudicator to list but just to pick out a few stand-outs: the pedestrian crossing is a really important addition which will be of benefit to many different users; the railway wall is a built heritage item too and you are keeping this visible; age and ability-friendly parking for the church is a work in progress. All great. By now you’ll be well-versed in the biodiversity considerations of projects such as vegetation clearance from walls and grave markers, but do bear these in mind, please. The adjudicator wasn’t aware of the wedge tomb at Craughaun Graveyard and has put this on the things to see list.

Green Spaces and Landscaping / Spásanna Glasa agus Tírdhreachú:

Another busy category here for Cratloe and it’s good to see the words ‘pollinator’ and ‘native’ appear here so frequently. Indeed, these are literally buzz words in any landscaping or planting projects that you might find yourselves embarked upon. Thank you for all the photographs supplied to inform this category assessment. You do have some extensive green areas. Low-Mow is the way to be thinking with these. Your lodestone should be the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan for management of areas such as these. It’s regrettable that there isn't the opportunity to see these areas and comment on them but you’ve access to some biodiversity and horticultural expertise, thanks to the Clare Local Development Company project, so we’d advise you to make use of this to the fullest.

Nature and Biodiversity in your Locality / An Dúlra agus an Bhithéagsúlacht i do cheantar:

You set the scene well in this category with a description of your setting and environs. However, we’d advise that you state in future entries that Cratloe is only a km or so from an important designated site. This site is the Lower River Shannon Special Area of Conservation. There is also Garrannon Wood a proposed Natural Heritage Area that is immediately adjacent your village. The latter of these might be of interest to your Woodland Group. This last sub-committee is a great idea, by the way. Especially as you seem to have much to do in Cratloe Wood – a really great resource for your community. Thank you for your account of your work here, though. Another idea for you might be managing long clearings in the wood (‘rides’) for butterflies. You could then record these (and other) species on the National Biodiversity Data Centre database. Thanks for the details of your plans for areas such as the railway bridge. You’re getting good advice and doing things in a systematic way which is great.

Sustainability – Doing more with less / Inmharthanacht - Mórán ar an mbeagán:

Yet another strong first entry in this category, Cratloe. Your first two projects are on how you’ve upskilled via webinar on alternative energy and energy efficiency. Great. The third project here is a very interesting one – a community solar farm project, no less. The adjudicator hadn’t heard of this initiative which could be a game-changer for Cratloe. Keep us informed. You also hope to have electric car charging at the Community Centre soon. A new project for you is a composting area near the grotto and you hope to improve this further. Very good.

Tidiness and Litter Control / Slachtmhaireacht agus Rialú Bruscair:

Thank you for a very clear entry here. You benefit from the assistance of Clare County Council’s Litter Warden in your ongoing anti-litter efforts. You tell us about your actions on a troublesome blackspot at Gallows Hill and a considerable voluntary effort has gone into this. Fair play. On a day-to-day basis you have very regular litter-picks and the Woodland Group have the brilliantly-named Woodpicker Week wherein volunteer visitors can help to play their part. You carry out weed control without resort to herbicides and that is great. As mentioned before, approach vegetation clearance from walls and structure with caution. You report that businesses are on your side and that’s a great start.

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

You tell us that the residents of Aisling Court maintain their grassy area approaching their estate. You could let us know if you can persuade them toward a Low-Mow regime as per the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan. Ditto the grass verges of Wood Road. You tell us also that you are planning to consult with local residents on maintaining their area and adjacent roadsides. Be sure that you bring the pollinator message to these discussions too.

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

You’ve lots to discuss in this category too. Some of these areas we have already discussed (e.g. for biodiversity). Again though, it’s good to see the words biodiversity and native appearing in this category and that herbicide use is discouraged. The adjudicator has always felt that Cratloe could perhaps ‘announce itself’ more. Have you considered commissioning the design of bespoke name signs for the village? Perhaps with a logo that reflects some of the history of Cratloe or perhaps represents the community spirit here? No doubt you’ve thought about this already.

Concluding Remarks:

What a great first entry to Tidy Towns, Cratloe! We’re very pleased to have you in the competition and a dynamic new partner in a movement toward sustainability that is gathering pace. Just so you know, with a start like this, great things are expected of you.