A three-year collaboration with the prestigious Concord College, Shrewsbury, has culminated in the handover of 32 acres of playing fields, amenity grassland, and wildflower meadows, designed and built by Turfdry. The delighted client has nominated Turfdry for the 2017 IOG Contractor of The Year Award.

Turfdry recently handed over its largest ever project: a £750K ‘feasibility, design and build’ project of new sports pitches and amenity grassland at the prestigious Concord College, Shrewsbury. The handover was the product of three years of close collaboration between Turfdry and the College, and has seen the firm selected as a finalist for the 2017 IOG Contractor of the Year award, which aims to recognise ‘those who demonstrate a strong client relationship, high professional attitude and attention to detail’. The award winner will be announced at the IOG’s SALTEX event n November.

Concord College’s Bursar, Barbara Belfield-Dean, first approached Turfdry in 2014 with ideas to develop ‘Hall Meadow’ – a 32-acre agricultural field directly in front of the college’s historic main building – into sports pitches and other recreational areas. Following initial site meetings, Turfdry was employed to undertake a project feasibility study; this involved topographical surveying, digital 3D land remodelling, a Ground Investigation Report via specialist geotechnical consultants, and detailed project cost analysis.

The development of Hall Meadow was part of an overall expansion plan that incorporated new teaching and residential blocks, plus car parking, which generated requirements for new foul and storm sewers that needed to cross Hall Meadow. Consequently, Melvyn Taylor took the prime role in a client-led multi-disciplinary team involved with the playing fields, comprising architects, landscape architects, a drainage consultant, planning consultants, another building contractor, and QS firm Faithful & Gould.

Turfdry’s design proposal was well received by the client. It provided all the required sports pitches, designed to suitable gradients, in a visually attractive and user-friendly layout. The proposed landform also addressed peak-storm flooding of residential properties on Hall Meadow’s western boundary: an existing problem caused by surface water run-off from the agricultural field. Turfdry also purposely engineered the design so that no soil needed to be brought onto or removed from site, to minimise the project’s impact on the local community. Planning consent was sought in April 2015, and fully approved in October, following Sport England endorsement.

The scheme had been fully costed by Turfdry and the firm was appointed to undertake the project construction, which commenced in spring 2016 following archaeological investigations. The extensive earthworks using GPS-controlled machinery involved over 25,000m3 of topsoil strip, over 25,000m3 of subsoil ‘cut & fill’, and a large attenuation lagoon. Land drainage systems of varying intensity for different parts of the site were installed using the unique ‘Turfdry Drainage System’, followed by: stone burying; sand spreading and amelioration; cultivation; lagoon hydro-seeding; seed-bed preparation; and sowing using five separate seed mixes for different parts of the site, including two wild flower meadows. The pitches were seeded in September, though the client’s late decision to ask Turfdry to replace an existing foul sewer across Hall Meadow delayed the flower meadow seeding until October. Turfdry maintained the site – undertaking: mowing; fertilising; selective herbicide; and aeration – until handover in July 2017.

The Institute of Groundsmanship was appointed to undertake independent monitoring of the project. IOG’s West Midlands Regional Pitch Advisor, Kevin Duffill, made eight official site inspections during the project and produced three reports; awarding Turfdry the highest marks following assessment at handover based on the IOG’s Performance Quality Standards.

To view photographs of this project, see the case study on our website: VIEW PHOTOS