‘It’s just a massive shame!’ - frustration over vandalism in Ottery St Mary

Vandalised Ottery fence

Vandalised Ottery fence - Credit: Archant

Cash-strapped council faced with cost of repairs

Vandalised Ottery fence

Vandalised Ottery fence - Credit: Archant

Vandals who tore apart a public fence have been condemned for the act which has endangered children and put unnecessary pressure on cash-strapped public services.

The walkway between The King’s School and the Land of Canaan has been branded a potential safety hazard because of the broken boundary between footpath and farmland – but a lack of funds mean it may not be fixed anytime soon.

Ottery town and county councillors have responded to complaints from residents and expressed frustration that the area has again been targeted by vandals following a spate of graffiti last year.

Verity Owen-Nickels is one of the parents who raised the issue, saying it really needs to be sorted before the start of the school term. She said: “It really is a state and not good for little children. Mine in particular have no regard for safety and run at the gaps.”

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Devon County Council (DCC) is responsible for the fence and has taken temporary measures to improve safety by removing nails and jagged edges.

Ottery’s county councillor Claire Wright said: “I have had complaints from residents. It has been made safer. What we would all like to happen is for it to be repaired properly, but because of budget cuts and lack of staff it will take longer.

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“I have been there. It does look awful and it is potentially unsafe.

“I just think it’s such a shame that someone went to all the trouble to break off all those fence posts. Public services do not have any money and it’s a massive shame.”

Mayor Glyn Dobson expressed similar disappointment that some people seek to destroy public areas of the town.

He said: “We are still pushing for more work to be done on it. We have received complaints from residents and it is unsafe for young children.”

A DCC spokesman said: “The first step is to ensure that the fence is safe. We will then review to what extent fencing or railings are required along the length of the path.”

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