Community divided by playing field plan

Paul Jeffries with other local residents.
Paul Jeffries with other local residents.
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A MASSIVE row has broken out in a Sheffield suburb, sparked by controversial plans to fence in a school’s playing fields.

Hallam Primary School’s plan to erect a 2.4 metre security barrier around its perimeters has prompted a fierce backlash from campaigners who want the space kept open for public use.

The ensuing battle has split the Lodge Moor and Sandygate community into two camps.

Sheafs of leaflets have been distributed outside the school gates and hundreds of angry letters have been written.

Sheffield Council has been informed that members of the ‘anti-fence’ camp have even resorted to smearing dog excrement outside ‘pro-fence’ supporters’ homes.

One resident said the issue had created community rifts “that may never be healed”.

The council’s west and north planning board will have the final say on the application when it meets on Tuesday.

Councillors have received more than 300 letters from residents – 83 in support of the fence and 227 in objection.

They have also been handed a 120-signature petition in support of the fence.

The school and its supporters say the mesh fence is needed to prevent burglary, vandalism and arson attacks.

But objectors say the strategy takes no account of the community’s desire to protect the open space.

City planners have come out on the side of the school and recommended that planning permission is granted.

In a report to be considered by councillors, officers said: “The school has stated that it is willing to enter into a community use agreement.”