Fake grass to be trialled on Gloucestershire village green

Bourton-on-the-Water Image copyright (C) British Broadcasting Corporation
Image caption Verges between the footpath and the river Windrush will be laid with artificial grass in October

A Cotswolds village green, worn thin by thousands of tourists each year, is to have artificial grass installed.

Parish councillors, in the picturesque village of Bourton-on-the-Water, voted unanimously in favour of trialling fake grass on a 322 sq ft (30 sq m) area.

It costs the council about £1,000 each year to patch up areas turned to "bare earth" by thousands of visitors.

And Councillor Richard Johnes said they need to examine if Astroturf will be a "cheaper longer term solution".

The parish council, which owns the village green, has set aside £1,000 from its annual £89,000 budget to trial the scheme.

Verges between the footpath and the river Windrush and alongside one of the bridges, where grass "doesn't have a chance to establish", will be laid with artificial grass in October.

"It's used quite widely - it's not the artificial grass you see in the butchers shop," said Mr Johnes, the council vice-chairman.

"But however good it is - you can't put natural grass next to artificial because it won't look the same.

"So we are deliberately picking areas that have no natural grass anywhere near to avoid any potential clashes.

"But until we see it down, we won't know how it will look."

So far, according to Mr Johnes, there have been "no negative comments from residents" to the trial.

Silk flowers

Although a similar scheme to put artificial flowers in the village's hanging baskets, five years ago, had to be dropped.

"That didn't go down well with residents," admitted Mr Johnes.

"There was a hose pipe ban and problems with watering, so we used silk flowers in the hanging baskets but people didn't like it so we went back to real flowers.

"But it is a fine balance between making an area appealing all year round and becoming too artificial.

"And until we know what the artificial grass looks like in situ, what residents think and how it fares - we won't know for sure."

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