THIS picture shows the first patch of artificial grass laid in Bourton-on-the- Water as part of a money-saving scheme which has caused a stir.

The fake grass has finally been installed on a 30 square metre patch which is wearing away on one of the verges between the path and the river.

Last month councillors admitted real turf had been laid in its place by mistake following “an administrative oversight” and had to remove it before the job could be completed.

Parish councillors voted in favour of trialling the artificial grass at their September meeting after vicechairman Richard Johnes pointed out some of the patches were looking threadbare. The installed turf, made by Easigrass, has won a gold medal at the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show.

Coun Johnes said he was “really happy” with the result. “I think it’s a very good selection for a particularly problem area,” he said. “The feedback we’ve had so far has been very positive. The fact people have been walking past without noticing it’s artificial is excellent.

“I think it’s blended in remarkable well. We will just wait and see how the trial period progresses before we make a decision about other problem areas.

“But we won’t be combining artificial with natural grass, for example the main green. We will continue to returf the village green in the same way we have done.”

The council spends about £1,000 every autumn to patch up the grass, which has worn away during the summer when thousands of tourists descend on the Cotswold village.

The more hard-wearing artificial grass would help the council cut down on its repair costs as it is likely to last for 10 years before it needs replacing.