Borough Gardens' bowling green could go back to its roots

Borough Gardens' bowling green could go back to its roots

PROPOSAL: The bowling club lawn

PROPOSAL: A grass free lawn as proposed. Picture: Marion Hammond

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Dorchester reporter

A FLORAL solution has been offered to the longstanding question over the future of the Borough Gardens’ bowling green.

Dorchester Town Council has spent much time deliberating the future of the green since the Gardens Bowling Club was wound up in 2010.

Initially it was turned into a putting green but take-up was poor and the council has now decided to use the venue for short tennis this summer, but admits the grass is unlikely to withstand this use in the long term.

At a full meeting of the council Dorset Wildlife Trust community conservation officer Joy Wallis has come up with a novel solution for the plot – a grass free lawn.

She described the concept as a ‘fairly new innovation’ and said it involved wild flowers and plants that do not grow high in such a way to ensure something is in flower virtually all year round.

Mrs Wallis said she has already discussed the idea with interested parties including the Thomas Hardye School and added that it could be a real community project with different groups bringing their own flowers to plant.

She said: “Dorchester could be on the map as the first place to actually do this.”

Mrs Wallis said a pioneering grass free lawn had been established at Reading University and even offered town council members the chance to visit the site and see it firsthand. She said that as well as being attractive the lawn would have a number of other benefits as it would be easy and cost effective to maintain, would give the community a sense of involvement and would look good all year round.

Mrs Wallis said she hoped to have further discussion with groups like the Friends of the Borough Gardens to gauge their support for the scheme.

She said: “I think a lot of people like the Friends of the Borough Gardens and the general public could be involved in setting it up.”

Members welcomed the idea put forward by Mrs Wallis and vowed to consider it when looking at the future options for the green after this summer.

Mayor Stella Jones said: “I think it sounds like an excellent scheme. I’m sure the management committee will look at it and maybe if we don’t put it in the bowling green area we could put it in somewhere else in the gardens.”

Management committee chairman Robin Potter added: “Short tennis is due for this year but we recognise by the end of the season the grass there might not be suitable any more so we will be looking for something to do the following season. This sounds like a very good idea.”

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