‘Strangers’ and dog poo prompt school fence plan

GV of Victoria Park, Norfolk Road, Worthing. ''Picture: Liz Pearce 050515'LP1501628 SUS-150505-184640008
GV of Victoria Park, Norfolk Road, Worthing. ''Picture: Liz Pearce 050515'LP1501628 SUS-150505-184640008

‘DOG fouling and stranger confrontation’ have led to the possibility of a second public park being partially fenced off for the benefit of a Worthing first school.

Heene First School is considering approaching Worthing Borough Council to fence-off part of Victoria Park during the school day, which it currently uses for recreational activity.

But the school has been warned recent opposition to the fencing off of Manor Sports Ground for use by Bohunt could make the council wary of accepting another similar project.

In minutes of a meeting of the school’s governing body, it is suggested a ‘hearts and minds campaign’ could be required to win over the public.

County councillor and Heene governor Michael Cloake said: “At this stage, as it is Worthing Borough Council-owned land they would have to consider the proposal on its merits. West Sussex County Council has provisionally agreed to provide funding for low-key fencing.

“I am aware of the three local schools regularly using the public land at Victoria Park for recreational activity in the daytime during term times.

“The proposal would simply be to enclose an area of the green for the benefit of the children using it to prevent dog fouling in the area and also to minimise the ongoing problem of stranger confrontation in the park.”

The school, in Norfolk Street, will take extra pupils in the upcoming age of transfer changes, which will see students move to secondary schools from year seven, not year eight.

Parents ran a successful campaign last year to get the former Jolly Brewers pub site purchased by West Sussex County Council, in order to provide extra playground space.

But the park plans have concerned one parent, Frances Hirst.

She said: “My objection to this is that Victoria Park is a vital green lung in the centre of Worthing.

“It is a public open space and is enjoyed by all the people who live nearby, many of whom live in flats.”

In a similar arrangement to the Manor Sports Ground, any land fenced off would be available for public use at the end of the school day.

The school was approached for comment but had not responded by the time the Herald went to press.

Mr Cloake said he was supportive of the plan as it would provide security and peace of mind for parents and staff.