8:40am Thursday 1st March 2012
Sir – Five years ago, in response to persistent vandalism of the Barton Fields allotments, Oxford City Council installed a security fence around the entire perimeter of the site.
The fence, made of extremely robust galvanised metal, is 2.5 metres high and has a life-span of at least 80 years. The reported cost was in excess of £50,000.
As a result of the added security, membership of the Barton Fields Allotments Association has risen from 10 to 60, and continues to rise as more and more local people become aware of the rewards of growing their own food.
The association has recently been informed by the city council that it proposes, as part of the controversial Barton neighbourhood development plan, to demolish the entire fence and replace it with “something more aesthetically pleasing”.
I am gravely concerned about the potential impact on the security of our plots; but I am equally concerned about this gross waste of public money.
I can only assume that the proposed replacement would cost at least as much as the existing fence.
If the council is determined to prettify the boundary of the allotments, I suggest painting the existing fence green, and — better still — planting a hedge in front of it: a mixture of hawthorn and blackthorn would provide food and nesting sites for birds and give pleasure to residents and allotment holders alike.
Mick Winter, Headington
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