1,000 signatures reached
To: Bristol City Council
Sense Not Fence - let's find alternatives to fencing at Stoke Lodge
Dear Bristol City Council
1. Refuse landlord consent to Cotham Academy for the erection of a perimeter fence at Stoke Lodge and ensure that Cotham Academy apply through the proper process and planning system
2. Take the legal steps required to stop Cotham Academy installing a fence under 'permitted development' if it attempts to erect a fence
3. Support the community and Cotham in finding alternatives to fencing that will ensure that no further public money is wasted in the pursuit of a misguided policy to ‘fence at all costs’.
Why is this important?
Cotham Academy continues to state that it will erect a 2m high, 1500m long perimeter fence around Stoke Lodge without the need for consent, they have confirmed they will start to build a fence in DECEMBER 2018.
Cotham Academy has so far spent around £200,000 in their pursuit of fencing Stoke Lodge, under the premise of safeguarding and with the repeated inference that this is a requirement from Ofsted. Ofsted themselves have confirmed in writing “to be clear Ofsted has not required Cotham School to erect a fence on these playing fields”.
Why doesn’t the local community want a fence at Stoke Lodge?
● There is no need for a fence, many schools today use open fields to play sport. The community, schools and sports groups previously coexisted peacefully at Stoke Lodge for nearly 70 years without a fence, many health and saftey experts have confirmed a fence is not required as have OFSTED
● This is the last remaining open green space in the area after two other school playing fields were sold off to developers, and it is vital to thousands within our community
● The fence leaves minimal space for walkways around the majority of the perimeter of the field and would be built over footpaths which people have used for over 70 years - these well trodden paths have validated public right of way applications awaiting a committee hearing
● No Equality Impact Analysis has been completed to assess the impact of the fence. Local people, including many with a range of disabilities, rely on access to this vital green space for their ongoing health and wellbeing
● No detailed risk assessment has been completed to determine the health and safety risks of installing a fence from those playing sports through to access for emergency services such as the air ambulance
● Stoke Lodge itself is a beautiful Grade 2 listed property, and planning is required for any development in the curtilage of a listed building
● Stoke Lodge contains many amazing trees under Tree Protection Orders, some of which are of national importance. The proposed fence will damage these trees
● The erection of such a large perimeter fence will cause irreparable damage to wildlife, with active badger sett/s and many other species of animals at the Lodge
● Bristol City Council, who own the land and act as landlord, has formally, publicly and repeatedly promised that Stoke Lodge would never be fenced
What would the local community like to see at Stoke Lodge?
● For Cotham Academy to return to Stoke Lodge again for their sports lessons as soon as possible
● For Cotham Academy to leverage the best practice from many other schools in Bristol and beyond (with higher risks) who use open playing fields yet still get rated highly by Ofsted for safeguarding
● For local sports teams to be allowed by Cotham Academy and Bristol University, who currently sublet and maintain the land, to return to play sports at Stoke Lodge as soon as possible
● If Cotham Academy still believes that the perimeter of Stoke Lodge needs to be strengthened, for more appropriate and cost-effective solutions be implemented.
● For no further public funds (and vital school funds) to be wasted in pursuit of a ‘fence at all costs'.