Residents on a Worksop street have hit out at plans to fence off a school field behind their homes.
Notts County Council plans to erect the fence on a playing field belonging to Worksop Priory C of E Primary to protect the health and wellbeing of pupils.
But residents are angry because it will be built right up to their back gardens.
Those living on the short stretch of Netherton Road have had access to the field through gates in their garden for many years and have used it during out of school hours, walking their dogs and letting their children play on it.
Residents said they understand the council’s reasons for fencing off the area, but have suggested they fence be moved to the other side of the small wood area, situated immediately outside their gates.
Penny Freeman, who rents out her home on the street, said: “We all felt that access to the field was a huge privilege. No-one abused it. No-one entered the field during school hours for obvious reasons. Our children played on it, people practiced golf on it, blackberries and holly were picked and exercise was taken.”
“With official permission there were event occasional parties held on the field.”
“Having all the trees at the back of our houses made us feel as if we were living in a rural environment.
She added: “All the residents of this short stretch of Netherton Road have back gates to the field and well trodden paths into it.”
“Surely this makes for a legal right of way. We have enjoyed continued and uninterrupted access for as long as anyone can remember.”
Wayne Beeston, who has lived on the street for 17 years, said: “We’ve never had a problem with the field. There is nowhere else for the kids around here. This is the only field that they have got where we know they are safe.”
His wife Sonya added: “I understand the council having an issue with health and safety but I disagree with is being right up outside our gates. There is no access to the field other than through out gates.”
David Scattergood, who moved into his home only a few weeks ago, said access to the field was a big draw to the property.
Jas Hundal, service director for transport, property and environment at Notts County Council said: “First and foremost this is public land to be used by school children and in recent years it has not been fit for purpose.”
“Our first priority is the health and wellbeing of the children and this is why a decision has been made to erect the fencing.”
Headteacher Phil Abbott said although some residents used the field properly, there were others who did not.
“For a number of years the school playing field has been used for fly tipping with everything from furniture to household waste being dumped on the space. There has also been a problem with dog faeces,” he said.
“The field has often been unusable and this is to the detriment of the children who are in my care and whose welfare is my first priority.”
“I have empathy with the residents who use it properly but there are many who don’t and for this reason the fencing is necessary so we can use the space for educational purposes.”