Anger at ‘prison-like’ cemetery security

The steel security fence that has been erected by Stamford Town Council behind the houses on Elizabeth Road. Photo courtesty of Paul Oleksow. EMN-141028-093734001
The steel security fence that has been erected by Stamford Town Council behind the houses on Elizabeth Road. Photo courtesty of Paul Oleksow. EMN-141028-093734001
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Residents have described a new security fence build on the boundary of Stamford cemetery as a ‘living nightmare’.

The 2.4m steel fence was put up by Stamford Town Council without planning permission and has cost taxpayers upwards of £16,000 .

The council put up the fence to try to prevent vandalism and anti-social behaviour in the area. But residents living nearby say it is a waste of money.

Paul Oleksow, who lives in Elizabeth Road, said: “If the council is in that sort of position to spend that amount of money then they should check they’ve got the proper permission to do it.

“They haven’t consulted anyone, the first we knew about it was when the fence was being put up behind our house.”

Most of the fence was put up behind houses in Elizabeth Road, on the edge of the Blue Park play area, on October 6, with some sections at the 
Blue Park and behind Essex Road and Sargeants Court built early last year. It starts at the back of Trinity Road, where the old play area used to be, and goes round to Sargeants Court near the pedestrian gate behind Northumberland Avenue.

At a town council amenities meeting on October 14, residents who objected to the new fence advised the council that they needed to get planning permission for it.

Since then the council has met with a planning officer from South Kesteven District Council, who said planning consent was needed as the fence was taller than 2m.

Mr Oleksow said the fence would not prevent problems. He added: “It’s a total eye-sore, its horrendous and it’s not stopping anyone from getting into the cemetery because there are low walls and gates which anyone can climb over.

“We’re trying to prevent anti social behaviour by regularly phoning the police, yet we’re the ones paying the price by having this put in our back garden - it’s ridiculous!

Ainara Iglesias, who also lives in Elizabeth Road, said: “It really is a nightmare we are having right now. It’s like living in a prison.

“My four-year-old son can climb over the stone walls around the front of the cemetery, so the new fence won’t prevent anyone coming in unless they enclose the whole place.

“It looks like a prison fence, it’s really high with big spikes on top and the light from the shiny bars reflects into our windows at night.”

Stamford town clerk Patricia Stuart-Mogg said there had only been three complaints about the fence, adding: “Many of the residents are supporting the new fence.”

Town councillor Mike Exton chairs the amenities committee, which looks after the cemetery. He said a planning application was being submitted for the fence.

He added: “We had money in the council budget so we decided to put a proper steel fence up to discourage the congregation of youths - meaning that they now have to go through the main entrance of the cemetery.

“Previously we’ve had youths hanging around drinking and smoking, along with a large amount of fly-tipping in the wooded area - if this hadn’t of happened we wouldn’t of had to do it.

“We’ve got to look after the cemetery it’s an emotive place and unfortunately this was the outcome, it has cost a lot of money which we could have spent on other things.”

There will be another amenities committee meeting at Stamford Town Hall on Tuesday at 7pm.