Concord College Pitch Construction Progresses Well

Added: 18th April 2017


2016 saw Turfdry take on its largest single sports field construction project to date: the transformation of an undulating thirty-acre agricultural field adjacent to the prestigious Concord College, Shropshire. The site now boasts top class sports and leisure facilities, including sports pitches, a grassed athletics track, and subtly landscaped surrounds providing a visually attractive aesthetic that fits with the college's heritage as well as the natural beauty of the surrounding countryside.

Turfdry's involvement with the project began in 2014, when Managing Director Melvyn Taylor was invited by the college to investigate the site and offer his initial thoughts on sports field construction and drainage. This eventually developed into a formal appointment for Turfdry to undertake detailed feasibility, design and cost options, working with a multi-disciplinary team that would lead to a successful planning application for the project. Turfdry appointed geotechnical engineers on the college's behalf and also appointed the IOG to undertake independent monitoring of the project.

The development site was known to have medieval archaeological interest that needed to be investigated and protected, and another aim of the project was to try to incorporate protection for existing houses on the western boundary of the site that suffered occasional flooding due to surface water run-off from the agricultural field. Other factors that required consideration were new foul and storm sewers that needed to be laid across the site, and the impact of an extension to the college car park that was to be built on the southern edge of the site.

Working to a brief provided by the client, Turfdry produced a number of fully costed designs for consideration. The scheme that was chosen had two separate sports pitch plateaus, the upper one incorporating a 400-metre grass running track (with provision for future upgrade to an all-weather track), amenity parkland areas for informal use by students, and a sweeping swale leading to an attenuation lagoon providing a pathway for surface water at times of peak storm events, and the housing on the western boundary protected by subtly contoured wild flower meadows. Turfdry designed the earthworks so that no soil needed to be moved onto or off the site, with a balanced subsoil cut and fill of over 25,000m3, following a topsoil strip that also exceeded 25,000m3.

As a firm that deals with feasibility, design AND construction, Turfdry's clients can be assured that costs provided are based on market-tested commercially competitive rates. Impressed by the firm's strong track record of project management, as well as the focus and clarity of communication during the early discussions, Concord College subsequently appointed Turfdry as the primary contractor for the works and as Principal CDM contractor, responsible for the site as a whole and coordinating other contractors present on site to ensure a safe, harmonious, and efficient site. 

Following successful planning approval, works began in April 2016, with the project taking shape through extensive earthworks using the latest excavators and bulldozers fitted with laser-control systems linked via computer software to the satellite-enabled design drawings. Subsequently, the drainage team installed the unique Turfdry Drainage System using Hydraway Sportsdrain, to ensure optimal drainage efficiency from the pitches upon completion. 

Seeding of the entire site was completed during September and October and a good sward was established before winter. Turfdry is now maintaining the site in preparation for handover in late spring or early summer and the College's pupils can look forward to putting their new facilities to the test at the start of the new academic year in September 2017. 

Be sure to stay up to date with the project's progress at, or see the news section for more of Turfdry's current activities.