Bristol companies Elmtree Garden Contractors and Craig West Turf have completed works to re-turf Bristol’s College Green for a fraction of the estimated cost.
The historic green area in Bristol’s City Centre was damaged by protestors from the Occupy Bristol movement camping on it during the winter, destroying the grass. They were peacefully evicted on 31st January, after which Bristol City Council were burdened with the decision of how to restore it whilst not wasting taxpayers’ money. Most of the grass had been ruined and it was feared it would cost in excess of £20,000 to restore it.
Occupy Bristol had offered to re-seed it, although this would have meant the green would not have been ready for public use until at least June. Additionally a Bristol City Council spokesman said: “Although some seeding might be successful, this would most likely lead to a lasting mix and match appearance of the site, which would not match the consistently high standard of the grass before occupation.”
Elmtree Garden Contractors and Craig West Turf decided to make a goodwill offer to re-turf the whole site of over 5000m2 for only £4000 – significantly less than the cost of turf itself. Works took 6 days and were completed on Monday 27th February.
Council leader Barbara Janke said: “It is now full steam ahead to return the Green back to its proper use as a public space all the city can use and enjoy. This is a fantastic offer from these two contractors to help towards the cost of reinstating College Green, saving the council tax payer thousands of pounds.”
Elmtree Garden Contractors Managing Director Paul Lynch said “We have been landscaping in Bristol for over 40 years, and all of our staff live in Bristol. We have a good relationship with Craig West Turf and thought it would be a good project to get involved with. We didn’t think it was fair that the Council taxpayer had to be lumbered with a £20,000 bill. This is our way of giving something back to the community and something our staff can take a pride in.”
Craig West Turf Managing Director Craig West said “As Europe’s largest independent turf supplier, and based in Bristol, we wanted to be able to help. Between ourselves and Elmtree we have over 50 employees, and our staff can now be proud of having some involvement in restoring this famous Bristol landmark. We used the same turf as is used on the Millenium Stadium pitch which will give the hardwearing properties necessary for an area that gets as much use as College Green does”
Councillor Gary Hopkins of Bristol City Council said before the works were started: “The contractors, together with our excellent landscape team, can now get cracking to return College Green to the people of Bristol as soon as possible. This much-loved green space at the heart of the city is a centrepiece attraction for residents, workers and visitors. It is one of the jewels in our crown in the annual Britain in Bloom competition and one of the reasons we perform so well both regionally and nationally, which we intend to repeat this year as well.”
The turf is expected to take a month to establish, before College Green is re-opened to the public in early April in readiness for the many summer events which are planned to be held on this impressive site.