Harrogate Borough Council defends artificial grass in town centre after residents hit out on social media

Harrogate Borough Council has defended its decision to install artificial grass on Cambridge Street after residents took to social media to raise the issue.

Thursday, 6th May 2021, 4:04 pm

The fake grass has been placed over tree roots in raised flower beds on the popular shopping street, replacing the previous plants which were also in the flower beds, with the same process taking place on Oxford Street today.

But residents have reacted with anger and expressed concerns over the plastic, questioning whether it is environmentally friendly and whether its bright green appearance fits with the tone of the town centre.

Lizzie Brewster drew attention to the latest addition to the town's streets with a post on Twitter.

She was backed by multiple people in the comments, who all shared her concerns about the flower beds.

Emily Ogden tweeted: "Oh lord that’s not environment friendly! Poor trees under plastic", supported by Andy Dennis, who wrote: "Plastic is not the way forward and normalising this very abnormal product is misguided. This needs to be removed."

The artificial grass in raised flower beds on Cambridge Street.

The Stray Defence Association added: "Real grass or plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen. False turf is a reservoir for not only fungus and bacteria, but also contaminated organic matter. It kills healthy soil bacteria, worms and root systems underneath it. Water is not absorbed and runs off."

There has also been plenty of criticism over the appearance of the artificial grass, which is bright green in colour.

C Foster tweeted: "Looks absolutely horrendous. So tacky", and the Little Ale House added: "It's also visually depressing!"

Many residents have criticised Harrogate Borough Council for the decision and said they are hoping the changes are temporary.

The artificial grass in raised flower beds on Cambridge Street.

But the council has defended the process, saying it is 'testing ways' to brighten up the town centre.

A spokeswoman for Harrogate Borough Council said:“The trees mean any plants in the beds struggle for light and moisture, so we’re looking at potential ways of keeping the beds neat and tidy without plants in them.

“When summer bedding plants become available, we will place additional planters and hanging baskets in the town centre to add a splash of vibrant colour.

“We’ve had lots of positive feedback about the changes we’ve made.”

Harrogate Business Improvement District (BID) has launched a number of initiatives to boost the look of the town centre lately but has made it clear the artificial grass is not a prokect they have worked on.

Harrogate BID Chair Sara Ferguson said: “We have spent a considerable amount of money installing barrier baskets, placing planters outside town centre businesses, and arranging for hanging baskets to be displayed outside many shops – all done to help build on Harrogate’s reputation as a floral town, and to make the town centre as attractive as possible.

“We want to make it clear that the fake grass being ‘planted’ around town centre trees is nothing to do with Harrogate BID.”

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