New tracks are planned to access the Cowdray site

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WET summers have led Cowdray Park Polo Club to seek planning consent for more vehicle access tracks around its premier Lawns polo grounds at Cowdray Ruins.

Bad weather, particularly for major events such as the Gold Cup final, has left the grassy surrounds of the pitches seriously damaged as spectators, players, trade stallholders and caterers struggle to drive out in the muddy conditions.

“It takes a number of weeks to recover and has very high cost implications to reinstate the grounds to their original condition. We have to re-seed this area only to have the same thing happen the following season/year,” the application document states.

The Lawns complex has two pitches for high-goal play, a pitch for medium to low-goal matches, and a practice ground. The club was given planning permission in 2005 for a vehicle access track around the northern and eastern edges and says it has worked well and overcome the difficulties which were previously being encountered.

But now, similar problems are cropping up on other areas of the grounds, particularly those on the west and north-west side where the ground is sloping.

“With the amount of rainfall we have had in the last two to three years, this area has given us continual problems, with the existing grass track being chewed up after heavy rainfall.

“This affects our larger event days/corporate days more. The extra traffic we have at these events compounds the situation,” the application states.

The original proposal was for an additional 380 metres of track, but on the advice of planning officers, a section between Lawns 1 and 2 polo grounds has been dropped.