Horrabridge School is planning a big investment in its playing field and is looking for any groups of people with a sporting interest who might want to use a synthetic pitch during the winter months, when a lot of ground round this way is often virtually unplayable.

The school is not looking for donations – just community interest which would help make a case for funding. The needs of other users might also lead to an upgrading of the quality of the artificial turf. Otherwise, for school use only, the choice would probably be the cheapest – and that would be a problem for Horrabridge Rangers, because it would not be good enough to meet Football Association requirements.

The football club currently uses the school ground for a lot of youth games. It is not big enough for full adult football, rugby or cricket, but it might make a hockey ground.. Tennis has been thought of but is quite well catered for elsewhere. The school wants to hear any other ideas and what standard of pitch would be required.

Dave Scragg, chair of the governors, outlined the situation at a meeting last week, attended by representatives of the football club and Devon and West Devon councils, the clerk to Horrabridge Parish Council and others. He said for school needs only, the grade quality would only have to be something known as 2G, meaning sand-filled. But if the demand was there, they could go up to 3G or 4G – using rubber crumb, which drains better and gives more bounce for bodies and balls.

Horrabridge Parish Council has discussed the possibility of spending some of its capital projects pot on an artificial pitch for Fillace Park and will now need to talk to Horrabridge Rangers, their tenants, about whether to try and upgrade the school plan, in the interests of the juniors, or develop the park, or both.

With the help of one governor who is a drainage engineer and another who has run similar developments elsewhere, the school authority reckons it could get a passable job done for an achievable price amd can find the resources to match-fund with grants to get there.

Mr Scragg said this week: “It would benefit children at the school for generations and maybe that is enough. But it might be a chance to build an asset for the community as a whole.

“We have to think about fencing and access, for the security of the school, but we think it can be sorted. Meanwhile, everything is still up for discussion.

“The field that we have is about 60 metres by 35 and big enough for school football practice, athletics and so on, in the summer. But very soon now, it will be more or less unuseable, for safety reasons, until next spring.”

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