Neighbours concerned about proposed fence around Ashfield Primary School

An aerial shot of Ashfield Primary School.
An aerial shot of Ashfield Primary School.

SEVERAL residents fear the loss of public open space if a proposed fence around Ashfield Primary School is approved by development authorities.

The school has proposed a 2.1m fence around the perimeter of the school in light of a security and vandalism concerns, after it received funding for the installation.

Principal Christiaan Moir sent a letter to households on October 29, inviting residents to provide comment and complaints to the school and the WA Planning Commission.

The school placed the plans on the school noticeboard, addressed parents at an assembly, put a message in a newsletter, had conversations with parents and community members, consulted with the School Council and P and C and formed a survey.

According to the Education Department, if the Town of Bassendean and State Government development authorities approve the proposal, the fence would be installed next year.

No trees would be removed to install the fence.

Nicola Watt, who lived across from the school, sent letters of concern to the school, Bassendean MLA Dave Kelly, Education Minister Sue Ellery, Planning Minister Rita Saffioti and Bassendean Mayor Renee McLennan.

Her main concerns include the lack of community consultation, the “ugly” appearance of the proposed combination of chainwire and garrison fencing and giving an impression that the area had high rates of crime.

“I would like the open space surrounding school buildings to remain accessible to all of the community,” she said.

“The installation of the fence will make a large proportion of the ground inaccessible impacting on local children, families and other residents.”

Her 12-year-old son and two friends sent letters to neighbours which stated they would not be able to play at the school if the plan went ahead.

“This will affect future families that want to live here because the fence will make it seem like it is a non-safe area,” the letter said.

“If this fence goes up it will stop children playing outside and will keep children inside playing videogames.”

Proposed fence to protect students, staff and school buildings: principal

Mr Moir said the proposed fence would improve safety of students and staff.

“Unfortunately there have been instances after hours where our staff have not felt safe, and school and staff property has been damaged,” he said.

“There have also been times when unauthorised people have used the school as a thoroughfare during playtime.

“We have been working closely with our school community to decide how we can improve security at our school and maintain our high quality learning environment.

“It will also protect our buildings and grounds from damage or antisocial behaviour after hours and during the school holidays.

“Our main focus is on providing a safer environment for students and staff; but we also want families to continue enjoying the school’s open spaces so the fence would not extend around the oval.”

Mr Kelly said he was aware of the proposal and the community’s concerns about the loss of access to green spaces.

“It is promising to see that the current plan allows the public to access the oval, however I am also aware of the concern over access to playgrounds,” he said.

“People are welcome to approach my office with their concerns.

“I will talk with the public, the school and the Department of Education to see if a design can be found that meets the schools need for better security and allows for continued community access to playgrounds.”