Field watering leads to a flood of protests

PUBLISHED: 12:28 21 September 2006 | UPDATED: 09:52 31 May 2010

A SAFFRON Walden school has hit back in a row over the watering of its newly laid playing field. Residents in Dawson Close told the Reporter this week they were annoyed by what they believe to have been excessive watering over the past fortnight at Dame

A SAFFRON Walden school has hit back in a row over the watering of its newly laid playing field.

Residents in Dawson Close told the Reporter this week they were annoyed by what they believe to have been excessive watering over the past fortnight at Dame Bradbury School in Ashdon Road.

But headteacher Jane Crouch said the old turf was a health hazard.

She said: "After many years of use, the school playing field had become a potential safety risk, with stones lying just under the surface.

"When the dry spell ended in August, we decided to go ahead with plans to re-turf the field.

"Had the dry weather not ended, this would have been put off until later in the winter.

"The field has had to be watered at times over the past two weeks, in line with all other businesses, such as car washes, golf courses and other schools and this does not contravene the hosepipe ban."

One Dawson Close resident said the use of three sprinklers for such a time was unfair on gardeners.

"I think it's outrageous the school has ploughed up its field and used sprinklers to water in the new turf during a drought period," he said.

"It's extremely unfair with a ban in place on us gardeners, when we are constantly being told to save water and watch every drop we use."

Another resident said she felt the relaying of the playing field was totally unnecessary.

"To deliberately kill off a perfectly usable grassed area due to just weeds is totally irresponsible especially in this hose-pipe banned region," she said.

"However, I do understand they may be fearful of lawsuits following a pupil gashing their knee on an errant buttercup."

Mrs Crouch said the school was aware of the need to conserve water and steps were taken to minimise the amount used.

She said: "We are very aware of the water shortage and therefore our site manager has been in and out of school, constantly checking the weather and turning the sprinklers off when they are not needed."

"The watering is now finished and in due course the field will be available for use again, not just by our pupils, but also by many other sports groups who have enjoyed it in the past.

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