Fence fury sparks campaign

Residents of Hammill Avenue, Windle, St Helens, protest about the huge 'acoustic' fence erected in front of their homes
Residents of Hammill Avenue, Windle, St Helens, protest about the huge 'acoustic' fence erected in front of their homes
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IT towers 20ft over the street and is driving residents in Windle to distraction.

Cowley International College’s imposing ‘acoustic’ fence was erected as part of planning permission won by the school to build community football pitches on their fields.

But residents are far from happy with the outcome, which blocks out light to their homes but, they say, fails spectacularly to reduce noise from the adjoining pitches.

Neighbour Tony Hughes, 72, said: “It has been absolute nightmare and it’s making a number of us poorly. We didn’t ask for this and we weren’t asked whether we want it.”

The fence was erected last September and runs the length most of the Hammill Avenue, which backs on to the Hard Lane school.

Residents have since been in constant dialogue with planning chiefs at St Helens Council and Cowley’s headteacher, Cameron Sheeran, in a bid to broker a solution.

Mr Hughes, of Hammill Avenue, added: “We all understand the fence cannot be taken down but it is blighting our lives.

“We’d like to see it reduced in height by half - that would go some way to making a different because there are elderly people living on the road who have been made poorly by this.”

Mr Hughes’ wife, Pamela, went on: “We have been rather perturbed and a bit grumpy about the whole thing. From our lounge and dining room, all you can see is this fence - something has to change.

“We’ve never had any problem with noise from the school. There were always children playing on the field and it never once bothered us and I think everyone living here would say the same.”

School bosses, however, say planning permission stipulated the fence be built to prevent noise pollution.

Now headteacher Mr Sheeran has commissioned an acoustic fence expert to assess the efficacy of the current fence.

Mr Sheeran said: “We are aware of our neighbours’ concerns and we are seeking to overcome them.

“Part of the planning application was that we had to have a fence to limit the noise.

“I understand their concerns. We are going to carry on working with them to find a solution.”

He added: “The original acoustician said that was the height we needed to prevent a certain amount of noise.

“I’m not an expert on acoustic fences, so I have to take the advice on the experts but in respond to the concerns of residents we going to look again at it.”