Fence row is far from unique

From: John Baker, Sheffield S17

I READ with particular interest the article (February 3) about a row over the proposed erection of a security fence around the field adjacent to Hallam primary school.

This is far from a unique example in Sheffield.

Just over a year ago, such a 2.4 metre green mesh fence sprang up virtually overnight around land adjacent to Dore primary school. This closed off a pedestrian access route onto the adjacent field and an area of that field. Yet an application had already been made to Sheffield Council for registration of the field as a village green. Residents had used the route, and had free access to the field, as far back as living memory goes.

Unlike Hallam, in this case, there was no effort by the school to communicate with, or negotiate with, local residents and community organisations beforehand. The fence just went up. Whether permission was given by the Council, and if so, by whom, has never been established.

On the evidence of Dore, an application for Village Green status by Hallam residents is unlikely to stop their local fence. Dore Village Society has been waiting three years for a decision on their application by the Council, which they are legally required to consider and adjudicate on. The granting of village green status provides future protection against development.

In the meantime, it is clearly wrong for a Council to initiate, or allow, developments on land, knowing that said land is subject to a village green application, the outcome of which it is itself responsible for adjudication on.