You live in a beautiful village, and are proud of it. But wear and tear from passing tourists leaves the village green looking sorry for itself. So what do you and other residents do under such circumstances? It’s obvious. You make sure the grass looks verdant all year through, no matter how many visitors tread the village green. And you do that by installing artificial turf!
Indeed, that is exactly what the Parish Council have done in the delightful Cotswolds village of Bourton-on-the-Water. And the residents are now proud as punch. The constant wear and tear from tourists to the village took its toll on the much loved centrepiece by the River Windrush. Villagers became fed up with the Parish Council spending thousands of pounds on- re-turfing on the bald spots. Resorting to Tarmac was out of the question. So councillors decided to trial replacing the worn spots on the green with artificial turf “There are a few stand-alone areas that take a significant battering, and short of putting a fence around them, we’re throwing away about £1,000 per patch to returf,” said the council’s village maintenance committee chairman Richard Johnes. The 30 square-metre patch will cost an estimated £1,000, but this is a one off payment, and a much more agreeable option than re-turfing all the time at considerable expense. As Mr Johnes acknowledged: “Yes, it’s more expensive than re-turfing, but it’s a one-off payment and it’s guaranteed for 10 years.” And this is just another example of astro style turf becoming a mainstream option and alternative. Yes, there has always been something special about a village green. But in popular villages like Bourton-on-the-Water, where visitors flood in year after year, the wear and tear not only becomes an expensive problem, but a cosmetic one too. Opting for the synthetic alternative is – as the Parish Council there admits – both economical and a sensible way to deal with a perpetual problem. What the Parish Council in Bourton-on-the-Water have decided to do is not unprecedented, at home or abroad. In cities all around the world, the authorities are increasingly turning to the artificial grass option to save both the time and money involved in maintenance. Australia is just one country where artificial turf is used regularly in town and village centres. Back home, in replacing natural grass with a synthetic, but natural-looking alternative, local councils are already making huge savings on upkeep costs, with the artificial option being suited to all weather conditions and more resilient to wear and tear. Not only can artificial grass provide a cheaper alternative, but the hardy material can also revitalise polluted or congested areas of some cities, where natural grass has a tough time growing. This was the case until recently in Canary Wharf, in London’s Docklands area
. As well as allowing the area to remain attractive and green all year round – despite the persistent exhaust fumes generated by commuters – the artificial grass there has also had further benefits to health and safety. Hurried pedestrians used to slip on the wet grass when rushing to work in the rain – something that no longer presents a problem with the synthetic alternative. So Bourton-on-the-Water is just following the lead of authorities all over the world. Who knows, the local Parish Council in the Gloucestershire village might well have started a new trend!