If the argument was to be explained as a football match, the two teams would be led by Harry Kane and Gilbert White.

Representing Headley Parish Council would be the England captain, approving of a flat and weed-free surface on which young players could learn how to thread slide-rule passes to the feet of strikers.

On the side of Headley resident Andrea Hay would be the Selborne ecologist, happily dribbling around clumps of sunny yellow ragwort while warning horses or cattle not to eat a plant poisonous to them.

Harry has won the battle, with the council beginning to transform what it calls a “disused, ragwort-infested field” into extra sports pitches at Mill Lane Playing Fields despite Andrea’s complaint that it will be taking off the topsoil and “using chemicals to remove every single organism”.

A Headley Parish Council spokesman said: “The parish council has come under increasing pressure over recent years to find additional land for sport. The project has been in the pipeline for many years while the parish council negotiated a lease from the Guildford diocese. The parish council carried out extensive consultation with the community including a feasibility study and an ecology report which confirmed that the proposed change of use ‘will not have a negative impact on the botanical or ecological value of the site’.”

Headley Youth FC (pictured) has 260 players aged from four to 18 using Mill Lane. Chairman Keith Harrison-Smith said: “The new pitches will play a vital role in continuing the growth of provision for youth football and, in particular, the development of girls’ football in Headley which we are very proud to have started.”

The Hampshire FA felt the project was a “great asset”, and parish council chairman Cllr Anthony Williams said: “Many will be able to walk and cycle to the new pitches.”

Extra parking is being created and the parish council has asked East Hampshire District Council for community infrastructure levy funding.