DC Casebook: Community facilities - Higher fencing agreed for secure hospital

The erection of a fence almost 4m high at a Staffordshire hospital has won support despite claims by the council and local residents that it would increase fear of crime in the area.

The site housed 43 adults detained under the Mental Health Act. The land was surrounded by a 2m-high close-boarded fence. The appellant maintained that new Department of Health guidelines required a taller fence to minimise the risk of residents escaping. The weld mesh design would allow views to be obtained, he argued.

The inspector acknowledged that the change in the height and design of the fence would highlight the presence of a secure institution but found that its impact on the landscape and street scene would be localised. Despite some local distrust, he noted that relations with the parish council and the community had improved and the fence would reduce the risk of patients absconding. This should assist in ameliorating concerns over crime, he inferred.

DCS Number 100-069-179

Inspector Peter Jarratt; Written representations.

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