Clarification on objection reasons

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From: The Hallam Village Green Society

WITH Reference to your ‘Save green lungs’ plea in school security fence row article in the Telegraph of February 3, there is a need to clarify the views of those who object to the current planning application as some people have misunderstood our position.

The school and the governors wish to erect fencing to improve the safety of the children and to protect the buildings from vandalism. The community agrees with this.

The school wishes to do this by erecting fencing around the entire perimeter of the school and the adjoining field.

The root of the objections lies in the proposed fencing of the entire field.

The field, which incidentally is owned by the council and not the school, has been used by the local community for recreation for at least 40 years.

At no time has anyone ever required permission to use the field or been stopped from doing so. It has been used ‘as of right’ during that time.

It is important to note that many parents with children at the school are objecting to this plan.

An objection has also been lodged by the Hallam Community and Youth Association (whose community hall is next to the school) on behalf of its many members.

Pleas have been made to the school governors and the head to take into account the extent of the local community use of the field, but unfortunately these have fallen on deaf ears.

Because the planning application is ‘black or white’. ‘pass or fail’, the local community has no option but to object to this planning application as it is not acceptable.

The original school plan proposed fencing a part of the field, but in a way that restricted the field being used for football matches.

An alternative proposal put to the chair of the school governors in October 2010 suggested a fence around the school buildings, but only a part of the field.

The East to West field fence proposed, roughly half way up the field, allows space for two junior pitches in the unfenced area to suit the needs of Sport England.

This fenced area of the field would keep the children safe, prevent access of the public and dogs, and provide sufficient area for the school to develop outdoor educational facilities. T

he unfenced part of the field would be available for community use as well as football. This would in no way restrict the school from using the entire field on occasions when it may wish to do so.

This is the only proposal which satisfies the NEEDS of both sides. It was ignored and the current planning application, fencing off the entire field, was submitted by the governors in January 2011. The prospect of losing this open space has not surprisingly brought together the local community.

This has lead to the formation of the Hallam Village Green Society which has submitted an application to protect a part of the field as a “village green”.

This was seen as the only option, given the governors unwillingness to consider any compromise.

As stated above the main difference between the two sides is the positioning of the fencing on the field, not whether there should be a fence. Surely it is not asking too much of the school to reconsider its position.

A small change to its plans can result in the school achieving its own needs and also satisfying the needs of the local community.

The school has been very much part of the community for many years and we want that to continue.

We’re trying to be fair and would ask Hallam Primary School to please reciprocate.