A BITTER row is set to rumble on over access to a school playing field in Sheffield, after councillors postponed making a decision.
Sheffield Hallam Primary School’s plans to build a 2.4m fence around its grounds have divided the community in Lodge Moor and Sandygate.
Nearly 400 residents have written to the council either in support of the security measure, or against the enclosure of public space.
Relations between the two camps have deteriorated so far that some residents smeared dog excrement outside the homes of people with opposing views.
Representatives of both sides went to Sheffield Town Hall yesterday to make their cases to the council’s north and west planning board. But after a 90-minute meeting councillors voted to defer the matter to allow the two sides to draw up an acceptable community use agreement.
Governor Richard Atkinson said the fence was needed to allow pupils to use the field safely. He said used condoms and “drug paraphernalia” had been found on the field and no play equipment could be installed because of vandalism.
But resident Martin Nicholson said the community did not oppose a fence - but objected to the enclosure of the entire field, which has been used for more than 40 years.
Planning agent Nigel Cussen said the school’s “fall-back position” was to build a 2m fence, which would require no planning permission.
He warned objectors the “benefit” of the 2.4m fence was that it would come with a community use agreement, allowing groups controlled access from 6pm to 8pm each day. Councillors voted five to three to defer the decision for the two sides to reach a “meaningful” agreement.