Fencing plan at school as drugs equipment found

NBENBE111115a1, Belper St Elizabeth school sign.
NBENBE111115a1, Belper St Elizabeth school sign.

A SCHOOL in Belper has applied to put up a security fence after drug paraphernalia and broken bottles were found in the playground.

St Elizabeth’s Primary School, on Matlock Road, has applied to put up the fence, which would include access gates for pedestrians and vehicles.

It was submitted by the education authority Derbyshire County Council.

In the application, the school claimed it needed a new fence to stop members of the public accessing the grounds both inside and outside of school hours.

It also pointed to issues such as dog fouling, vandalism, misuse of drug and alcohol which resulted in drugs paraphernalia and broken bottles being left around, and sheep roaming about the grounds.

There were also concerns about the school’s close proximity to the busy A6 and the issue of children’s safety.

But some locals have voiced their opposition to the plan, saying it restricts access to a green space for people living nearby.

One resident who lives near the school, but who did not want to be named, said it would prevent locals using the field during school holidays and at weekends.

He said: “I am against local authorities fencing off such ‘open spaces’ that we pay for in our rates.

“I am all for fencing off school buildings on security issues, but not for denying children access to open spaces.

“Playing field-sized open spaces are few and far between in this part of Belper. I just think, at a time of economic depression and council budgets being cut, that wasting public money building a fence that has not been needed for more than 100 years is crazy.

“The school’s security could be addressed by fencing in the buildings without enclosing the entire field. It seems a little excessive, expensive and anti-community.”

Bryan Lowe, the school’s head teacher, said: “Under current safeguarding legislation, all schools need to have secure perimeters. The health and safety of our children is paramount and fencing will enable children to be safe and secure, prevent dog fouling on the playing field and breaches of security at the premises.”