North Leeds: Fury as fence is installed at field

FENCE FURY: Paul Sellars, chairman of the Friends of Geldhow Field, at the site.
FENCE FURY: Paul Sellars, chairman of the Friends of Geldhow Field, at the site.
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Campaigners who fought the installation of a fence around a popular field in Gledhow are furious after being left with less space than they say they were promised.

Earlier this year, residents formed an action group, Friends of Gledhow Field, against Gledhow Primary School’s plan to fence in a neighbouring field which they said had been freely used by the community for over 30 years.

The school, which owns the land, says it needed the extra outside space from this August as it prepares to expand to help meet the critical shortage in primary school places in the area. Last week, the fence went up but campaigners were horrified to find a path at just one side remained open to the public – rather than the two previously promised.

Paul Sellars, chairman of Friends of Gledhow Field, said: “We were shocked that the council and the school had gone back on their word. They had both said in writing that there would be a path around two sides and they’ve not done that. People are really upset about it. They have been using it for years and now it’s gone. There’s a narrow path of about three or four yards wide across one edge and that’s it – that’s all that’s left for the community. It’s worse than we were led to believe it would be.”

Paul Brennan, deputy director of children’s services at Leeds City Council, said the extra green space is vital for providing a sufficient sports pitch area for the expanded school.

He added: “We have designed the fence line to ensure members of the public will still have access around the field and that those residents whose properties directly back on to the field are not adversely affected by the location of the footpath. We understand different residents have different views and priorities and therefore a compromise was required.”

He stressed the community can lease the playing fields free of charge out of school hours.