RESIDENTS are ‘shocked’ that a six foot razor fence is being erected in a nature park in Oxford.

The fence, which is being built by Oxford University, cuts across Rivermead Nature Park, nestled between Rose Hill, the Eastern Bypass and the River Thames.

The University's intention is to secure the boundary between University property and the nature park following recent instances of antisocial behaviour on land owned by the University.

But people are surprised to see construction start without any warning and are concerned about the impact it may have on wildlife.

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A man from Cowley, who has asked not to be named, said: “I heard a rumour that the fence was being put up so I went down there myself and I was shocked by what I saw.

The Oxford Times:

“It’s going to look like a prison when it’s finished, and animals will be sandwiched between the ring road, not being able to roam around.”

The fence cuts off part of the only natural woodland available to Rose Hill residents which is jointly managed by Oxford City Council and Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust.

Although Oxford City Council were aware of the University’s plans, BBOWT was not, and after residents’ complaints, both bodies met with the University earlier this week in a bid to make changes.

Trevor Williams, whose running club uses the park, said: “At a glance, it looks ugly, unwelcoming and inappropriate for our nature reserve. I’ve led many runs there with the local running group. It's a great space which should be valued very much so its very sad.”

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The Oxford Times:

A spokesperson at BBWOT said: “We are working with Oxford City Council and Oxford University to ensure that the newly erected fence will not be detrimental to the positive work which has taken place at the reserve.

“In the short term the fence will be altered in order to ensure the safe passage of wildlife between the two locations. We will continue to work with the local community, Oxford University and Oxford City Council to secure a positive outcome for all.”

Alterations include sections being removed from the lower part of the fence so that animals can pass through safely.

Oxford University admitted in a letter to residents that its communication with local people has not been good enough.

The Oxford Times:

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An Oxford University spokesperson said: “We are now aware of the level of engagement and attachment among local people for this area of woodland. We are actively seeking to work with the community, councillors and conservation groups on a way forward that will create safe access for local people and allow wildlife to move through the site.”