Neighbours' complaints at Wigan school's plan to fence off its playing field

Bryn St Peters Church of England Primary School
Bryn St Peters Church of England Primary School

There are concerns a school fencing off its playing field could create a "no man’s land for vermin".

Bryn St Peter’s Church of England Primary School’s plans will prevent pupils from wandering off the premises.

The field at the Ashton school is currently open to members of the public, but is owned by the school and is not a public space.

The move has divided opinion among those living nearby, with 13 residents writing letters of objection to Wigan Council.

Of the 13 complaints, the most common issue was the proposed 2.4-metre-high mesh fence which would stop residents accessing the field from their back gardens.

There are also concerns it will tower over existing garden fences.

One objector said: “We understand the importance of safeguarding children, but this could be achieved with a fence around the playground and not the whole field.

“This would cause an eyesore for the few respectful residents that have access to the field.

“The field is a great community asset with families using the space for children to play safe.”

Another said: “The new fence could make an ‘alleyway’ and create a ‘no man’s land’ which could become overgrown and attract vermin.”

One resident claimed the field was a "huge draw" to buying a house in the area, adding that the new fence could devalue their property.

Seven letters have been written in support of the school, with one saying: “I think it’s of the utmost importance to have this fence to ensure that the school are doing everything in their power to safeguard our children.”

A parent with two children attending the school suggested that the school was only following what other schools in the area have already done.

“The children have ample playing space but are extremely safe and fully protected by fences all around the whole school,” said the parent.

“Why should our children be any different?”

A report to Wigan Council’s planning committee said the fence would satisfy safeguarding issues to ensure that the children are secure within the school grounds.

Planning officers say the new fencing would be entirely on the school’s own land and "would be no different to any other development which may erect fencing to its own boundaries".

The report says that residential fencing would need to be maintained from within the residential gardens and not by gaining access to the school field.

Bryn St Peter’s Church of England Primary School was approached for comment.

The application, which has been recommended for approval, will be considered by Wigan Council’s planning committee on Tuesday.