‘Prison’ fencing plan removed after community opposition

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AN APPLICATION to erect a high security fence around the perimeter of a Hucknall playing field by Nottinghamshire County Council has been withdrawn after strong community objection.

Plans were revealed for a new classroom at Leen Mills School together with a 2.4m high fence at an adjoining playing field to increase space for pupils, but this meant effectively cutting off community access that had been enjoyed for over 30 years.

It also meant residents bordering the school would have their views blighted by the fencing, which one resident said ‘would be like living in a prison’.

But after the community rallied round and joined forces to fight the application through a petition, the council has amended it.

“We are delighted that they have changed their minds about the high fencing,” said one of the neighbouring residents, June Wesley, who signed a petition against the plan.

“I’m glad they have listened to us and taken our views into account.”

It was hoped that the school could extend their playing area, but it meant securing the site. This is an issue that remains and one that the council is hoping to resolve by talking to the community.

Mrs Wesley added: “We are happy to work with the council on a compromise as, for me, the children’s safety is still important. We will have to wait and see what happens in the future but we want the space for the whole community to enjoy.”

Nottinghamshire County Council’s children, families and cultural services service director John True said: “We have removed the proposal for a 2.4 metre high security fence around the school playing field area.

“In the longer term we still need to find a way of ensuring that the field can be readily used by the school on a day-to-day basis. And we have added a note to our amended planning application to this effect.

“We will be working with the school and the local community to find a solution to the problem, but I don’t want to pre-empt what that might be given that we want to listen to the views of local residents before any decisions are made.”

Hucknall county councillor Mick Murphy says he will continue to represent the residents and their objections to the scheme to protect the open space for everybody to enjoy.

“This area is a vital community space especially since the loss of Wigwam Lane to developers,” said Coun Murphy. “But I also remain concerned about the extra classroom and what implications and impact this will have on the current traffic problems in that area because of Leen Mills’ close proximity to Holy Cross School.”