The “Green Shoots of Recovery” is often used as a metaphor in economics, but for us it is a practical challenge.

Field sports, charity events, car boots and shows for dogs, sheep, and horses. How can they all be accommodated, and a quality grass surface be maintained and sustained?  Well apparently, it can, and we will test the theory cautiously with expert help and advice.

Because our community is diverse and we think the recreational and sports enthusiasts, the farming community and the charity sector are all as important as each other we are seeking to accommodate as many community organisations as want to use the site responsibly. Likewise, the demographic groups of our town should share equal status as users.

We don’t think any facilities we provide should be mutually exclusive. But we are realistic, and we also think nothing should be detrimental to the quality of our facilities, hence our cautious approach. We are conscious that one event, if damaging to those facilities to the detriment of a majority of regular users occurs, we would need to prioritise conflicting uses.

As we are getting enquiries from potential users who are embracing the wider community hub concept we are building, we need to assess if their activities can be realistically incorporated. Into annual activities in harmony with regular users and visitors.

Keen observers, and there are a few, will notice that we will be working on the sports fields during the summer as a part of the restoration process of weeding, reseeding and aeration. The grass will get quite long first but this will enable it to be cut and collected rather than be left on the surface to rot and cause too much ‘thatch’ (growth retardant debris).

The results will not be immediate, but the surface will, we believe, be more robust and less likely to hold water even in 2022/23 football season. This is a 3-6 year programme to ensure we have the most robust and self-sustaining grass surfaces for all our potential activities.

It’s not enough to theorise about this so we will be talking to grass experts and other sites around Yorks and Lancs to see how they manage event uses and what, if any, recovery times their grass surface needs following non-sporting/recreational events.

Clearly, we are not likely to spend funds on quality and robust surfaces and then trash them, so research and professional advice is the key before we commit to any event, or use, that changes the surface quality for significant periods afterwards. We’ll report our findings here in due course.

And if there are any students or budding agronomists out there please do get in touch, this could be an educational project for you too!