24th November 2015
Stamford Town Council has been forced into a fight to keep its own fence after erecting it without planning permission.
The fence, which cost £16,000 and was designed to combat antisocial behavior in a cemetery, caused a raft of complaints from locals that said it made the area look prison-like. They also objected to the fence on the grounds that it had not stopped the antisocial behavior as people could simply jump over the wall at the front of the cemetery.
The council applied for planning permission after the event, but this has now been rejected and it faces a costly and lengthy legal battle.
It highlights two issues. The first is the absolute need for planning permission for a permanent fence of a certain height, even for the local council. The second is that in a residential area it is essential to choose a fence that does the job without creating a major impact on the local community.
There are a variety of perimeter fencing systems that are barely visible from a distance and yet offer the same security properties of the aggressive and imposing system that Stamford Council opted for.
The Optima fencing system comprises thin wires with a variable distance between them that offers exactly the same level of security and defence against intrusion, perhaps more so when the v-shaped pressings are taken into account, yet it blends into the background much more effectively. Gemini, meanwhile, could have allowed the council to turn the fencing into a decorative feature with the name of the cemetery embedded in the wiring, which would have gone a long way to diffusing the complaints.
Stamford Council’s unpainted steel grey structure does have a visual impact on the area, whereas other open mesh systems can be swiftly installed and designed to blend into the surrounding area. Three-metre panels mean there are relatively few posts, too, which again reduces the impact.
Security fencing is simply essential in the modern age, but it is also important that it blends in with the local environment. Stamford Council may learn an expensive lesson, so others do not have to.