Community boost for The Meads in Shoreham

Released: Monday, 09 January 2023

The Meads Recreation Ground could get a state-of-the-art hybrid pitch to benefit residents, community groups, school children and dog walkers.

Based in Shoreham, The Meads has an open area that includes a children's play area and an enclosed section that is used by neighbouring Swiss Gardens Primary School between 9am and 4pm on school days and the public the rest of the time.

The enclosed green space is so popular that it becomes heavily worn, with a mixture of bare or poor grass cover and an uneven surface that makes it unsafe for school activities and dog walkers during wetter months.

The challenge has been how to reconcile the school's need for better play and sports facilities with our commitment for a sustainable future for The Meads, which includes keeping the area green and supporting the Friends of the Meads in planting to enhance biodiversity.

In an innovative move, West Sussex County Council and ourselves are supporting a plan to lay a hybrid pitch that is a mixture of mainly natural grass interwoven with synthetic fibres, making it far more durable.

Grass is sown into the synthetic fibres providing stability by protecting the natural grass as it grows, as well as during use. If given the go-ahead it will be the first hybrid pitch installed by the Council.

We will manage the project, own the site but lease the enclosed school field to West Sussex County Council for use by Swiss Gardens.

The cost of the hybrid pitch would be funded by more than £247,000 in contributions that were agreed with Hyde Homes as part of the nearby Ropetackle North development and are held for school improvements by the county council's education team.

Cllr Angus Dunn, Adur's Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, said:

“The Meads is extremely popular with so many different people in the community of all ages. As residents and those who use it know, the grass there can become incredibly boggy and therefore unsafe, making it a wasted space for several months.

“We've worked really hard to try to find a suitable compromise here and by delivering a hybrid pitch this will give pupils at Swiss Gardens Primary School much improved facilities and better access to physical exercise, as well as allowing the community to use it safely all year round without any cost to the taxpayer.

“This project will be the result of us, West Sussex County Council and the developers working together to deliver a first-class facility for the whole community.”

Cllr Nigel Jupp, West Sussex County Council's Cabinet Member for Learning and Skills, added:

“The county council and Swiss Gardens Primary School very much welcome the proposal to create a high quality, all-weather playing surface at The Meads which will benefit so many in the local community.

“This will be especially welcome news for families of Swiss Gardens, who are in real need of outdoor playing space that their children can enjoy using all year round. This has our full support and the County Council and the school will be working closely with Adur to progress these plans as swiftly as possible.”

We conducted a public consultation in 2021 to see what residents wanted for the green space with three options, ranging from simply installing a new draining system to building a 3G artificial pitch with floodlighting.

However, a hybrid pitch being installed would allow the pitch to be used more often without damage and would last longer than a fully synthetic 3G pitch, which has a limited lifespan as the synthetic fibres provide stability as it protects the natural grass.

PR23-001 - The Meads, Shoreham

(PR23-001)

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Page last updated: 02 February 2023

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