Gillotts School submitted a planning application to install a new perimeter fence to make the school site secure in December 2019 and this week amended plans were reviewed by the Town Council’s Planning Committee.
The Town Council Planning Committee unanimously recommended refusal on the grounds of visual impact on the character of the area, the effect on wildlife and the proximity of the fence to the footpath in January 2020. On Tuesday evening Councillors recommended refusal based on the same grounds plus additional concerns over the impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and that there has been no report submitted on the impact of habitats.
In the Design and Access Statement submitted with the amended plans it stated “Further to receipt of the feedback from the local community, we have consulted with the school staff to amend the original proposals, to demonstrate to the local community their concerns have been addressed in respect to the visual appearance of the proposed fencing, whilst still maintaining its function, operating requirements, and very importantly the principal requirement to provide a safe and secure environment for children, and the staff working within the school.”
The new fence will be installed along the same perimeter line as the existing timber post and wire fence that is consistently being vandalised.
Catharine Darnton, Headteacher said, “There has been a growing awareness of the need to keep children safe in school by limiting access to school sites by unauthorised persons. As the community will be aware, the Gillotts site is very open allowing anyone to come onto it and leave it without coming through Reception. It is the school’s view that, in the interests of safeguarding our students, we need to fence the complete perimeter of the site ‘as is’ as soon as possible. The design of the fence will reflect Department for Education’s guidelines as to height and will also be sensitive to the varying environments that surround the school. If and when the school is successful in selling the remote part of the playing field that is earmarked for housing in the Neighbourhood Plan, the relevant portion of the fence will be re-positioned.”
The application was recommended to be ‘called in’ so that it could be reviewed by the SODC Planning Committee.