It’s fair to say that the damage done to Southsea’s Castle Field in the wake of the Heavy Horse Show certainly isn’t pretty.
Some have gone as far to suggest that it’s a bit of an eyesore and that the churned-up field will leave visitors with the wrong impression of our area.
We can understand where they’re coming from. Southsea Common as a whole is one of this city’s most treasured spaces.
In a city as built-up as Portsmouth, it’s vital that our green lungs are well-maintained.
But what’s the point in having wide open spaces that we don’t use?
The very definition of common ground is that it’s to be used and enjoyed by the people – surely that’s all that has happened here?
While we accept that one area is no longer looking its best, there’s a perfectly legitimate reason for that.
The recent Heavy Horse Show was enjoyed by thousands of people and undoubtedly brought many visitors into the area.
The city council tried to pre-empt the problem of the field being left in a muddy mess by making attempts to improve the drainage there first.
But the unseasonably bad weather, combined with the horses’ hooves and carriage wheels, have left the ground looking less than perfect.
The alternative would have been to cancel the show and no-one would have wanted to see that happen.
If we are to get the most out of our green spaces we must accept that the grass won’t always look pristine and tidy.
Of course the council must do all it can to limit the damage and, perhaps more crucially, then rectify it as soon as possible.
Plans have already been put in place to allow that to happen.
And maybe putting up signs to explain what has occurred and what is being done to fix the problem would appease those who still have an objection.
However, at the end of the day, this area is there to be used.
Sensible precautions must be taken to prevent the grass from becoming damaged beyond repair.
But let’s enjoy what we’ve got.