Residential Streets & Housing Areas
Sráideanna Cónaithe & Ceantair Tithíochta
In this Category The Tidy Towns Adjudicator can award 50 marks
Residential streets that include Town Houses are integral parts of towns and villages and should be treated in a similar fashion to public and private housing developments. Consideration is given to proper presentation and maintenance of all properties with due cognisance given to maintenance of frontages, boundary and gable end walls. Gardens, where applicable, should be presented to a good standard. In housing developments green areas should be cut regularly. Children’s play areas to be considered with equipment maintained to best standards. Where possible individual estates should have suitable name signs – stones, plaques, sign posts, etc. preferably bilingual. Unfinished estates will not reflect badly on the efforts of any community but examples of how the community is addressing this issue should be highlighted.
Residential Housing Areas (Estates)
Newbridge is an extremely busy town; there are in excess of 100 individual residential estates in the town, ranging from terraced housing of 10 to 15 units to residential estates with in excess of 400 houses. In the main Residents Associations are very proactive in the town and take great pride in maintaining their area to a very high standard, as will be expected in a town of our size of there are some exceptions.
All residents whether they are home owners or leasing a home should be involved with their Residents Association. If each household made themselves available for an hour per week to assist in general estate maintenance it would ensure that ant Residential Estate would look its best all year round.
The role of Residents’ Associations in the appearance of the town is critical; they are responsible for the management of their residential area, and addressing issues which arise in the presentation of areas immediately outside the estate boundaries.
The primary areas which should concern Residential Areas are:
- Involving as many residents as possible in upkeep of the residential area.
- Maintenance of communal open spaces, grass maintenance, weed control;
- Planting flowers, native trees, shrubs;
- Maintenance of boundary walls, fences, (including painting);
- Maintenance of immediate approaches to the estate and the estate entrance;
- Design and upkeep of private gardens;
- Regular clean-ups, litter picks, prevention of unauthorised dumping;
- Design, maintenance and upkeep of estate signage, is it bi-lingual?;
- Facilities available within the residential estate – shops, crèches, and children’s play areas;
- Does the Residents Association have suitable insurance?
Just as there are many Residents Estates in Newbridge there are quite a number of Residential Streets in the town centre area. The town centre is extremely busy, and many enhancements or improvements are possible to improve both the appearance and they can be achieved by the house owner / occupier, the management company (in apartment units), or by working in conjunction with the local Council.
All residents whether they are home owners or leasing a home, or operating a business could / should participate. Can you come up with any ideas which will inspire others to get involved?
It’s all about seeing the possibilities and potential of the urban space that you occupy, it’s about being in touch with your needs, your family’s needs and the needs of the wider community – i.e. where all street users (whether resident or not) are accommodated and with an aim to ensure that the local community will thrive and get to enjoy the urban space they occupy. Unfortunately our streets are losing their local distinctiveness and character.
We all engage in home improvement projects from time to time, why not extend this positive attitude to encouraging and facilitating a make-over of your street?
Initially take a look at your street, make a list on how can it be improved, made safer, healthier for everyone who uses the street, decide what you can (will) do, what the building management company could do, and what would need the input of the Council / Local Authority.
Think of the elderly, children, the disabled, mothers / fathers with child buggies, streets should not be an obstacle course.
Initially carry out a street audit on your street.
Include: Street Name / Location:
Note condition of – paving, railings, bollards, litter bins, utilities (‘phone kiosks, bus shelters, manhole covers etc.), flower containers, seating (or lack of), public lighting, street furniture, clutter (poles, advertising etc.) and include a note of other observations not included in this list.
When the Street Audit has been completed, send it to your local Councillor or the Council, and ask them whether any improvements could be planned and a budget determined to address the perceived deficiencies you observed. The more street audits Councillors receive the more likely the council is to take action to improve the street quality.
You should also be proactive, here are some suggestions which you can organise in your community:
The Home Owner / Resident:
- Carry out a daily litter pick;
- Deal with weeds outside your home / premises;
- A fresh coat of paint will brighten up your premises, better still try to co-ordinate painting across a number of buildings by agreeing a communal colour scheme;
- Don’t forget to maintain your doors / windows –they tend to need more regular painting than the building walls;
- If you are lucky enough to have a garden area to the front of your house, ensure the gate and fence are nicely painted and maintained;
- Consider summer window boxes, or if you have the space plant a flower-filled garden;
- Is there a “grot spot” an unattended “corner” on the street which attracts unsocial behaviour, graffiti etc. simply because it is left unattended and abandoned – can the community do anything to clean up the area? Consider a mural if the Council will agree to one.
- Encourage your family and neighbours to walk, cycle, or use public transport (where available) as an alternative to car use;
The Business Community
- The business community on your street should be looking at ways of improving the conditions for business (and in some areas tourism) to thrive.
- A brightly painted, externally lit attractive shopfront will tend to attract customers into the shop.
- Keep the path outside your shop clean, litter and weed free and un-obstructed by advertising signage.
- Consider installing solar-powered lights as this will provide an element of after-dark security on the street.
- Avoid external “security” shuttering – it tends to create a sense of “exclusion” and
How the Council can help:
You are far more likley to receive a positive response from the Council if the community is seen to be proactive and constructive – doing what you can for yourselves, and taking the initiative in improving your street where you are able, and where permitted by law.
- Can road & footpath surfaces be improved, levelled, widened or made safer?
- Can a plan be agreed to improve the public realm and the quality of the street environment, for example by planting trees?
- Is there potential for a cycle lane on the street?
- Are there disabled parking bays, is the street accessible to all, are there safe crossing points?
- Can obstructions on footpaths be removed?
- Is there superfluous, obsolete or poorly maintained signage on the street?
- Is there scope for suitable outdoor street furniture?
- Is public lighting in working order, is it’s design suitable for the street?
- Are there unsightly wires which could be undergrounded or made less obtrusive?