Plan for fence around Doncaster housing complex to keep out yobs

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Plans have been drawn up to encircle a housing complex with a metal fence to create a ‘defensible’ space to stop yobs blighting the area.

A great-grandfather whose life has been affected by anti-social behaviour for more than 20 years is supporting a plan to build a fence around the bungalow complex he lives in.

Harry Stewart, aged 89, has been living in his home on Sheridan Avenue, Balby, for 24 years – and for most of that time he says youths have been making his life a misery.

“It’s been terrible. For the last 22 years I’ve had nothing but trouble, trouble, trouble. I’ve had the police here at least 15 times if not more.

“The kids come and sit on my windowsill, right outside my lounge. They bounce their ball up against my wall and bang it against my window too. I’ve often thought that they are going to smash my window. I used to go out to them, but I don’t now, I don’t feel safe.

“There was one time about four years ago when I got myself all worked up and I thought I was having a heart attack. I had to be taken in to hospital and they said I’d just got myself all panicked.”

Harry has reported all of his problems to St Leger homes, who own his bungalow and others in the area.

Over the years, the firm have put a gate around all the grassed areas in the complex, which includes properties on Herrick Gardens, Longfellow Road and Sheridan Avenue, and erected ‘no ball games’ signs in an attempt to put a stop to the anti-social behaviour, but they have not been effective.

Last year, a neighbour wrote to Doncaster Central MP Rosie Winteron about the issues on behalf of Harry, who is going blind. With her help, the company agreed to build a fence around Harry’s outside wall.

“They put a wooden fence up but it’s useless. They tried, but the kids just bounce their footballs against that. They climb over the gates and ignore the signs. I don’t think they are trying to scare me, I think they are just kids being kids, but it’s unnerving, especially when they can see me and I can’t see them.

“The problem is that when one generation grows up another one comes along so it just continues. I’ve had stones thrown at me too, it’s a nuisance.”

St Leger Homes have now submitted a plan to Doncaster Council to build a 1.2 metre high metal fence around the complex in a final bid to combat the problem – a proposal which Harry fully supports.

“It would make all of us feel much safer. I have thought about moving, but if this went ahead it would make me feel a lot better about staying here. It would stop them being able to get near anybody’s home.”

The proposal submitted to the council’s planning committee states that the fence would create a ‘defensible space’ for the residents.

A St Leger Homes spokesman said: “In recent months we have received complaints of anti-social behaviour in this area which include people using quad bikes on the open- plan grass area, and kicking balls against property doors and windows. The fencing will be used to restrict these unwanted activities.

“A defensible space is an area that, once closed in via fencing, will give the tenant a sense of ownership and increased security.

“Tenants in this area have been consulted and shown a plan of the proposed fencing, and we have had overwhelming support for the scheme.

“The proposed scheme should reduce the amount of anti social behaviour in and around the bungalows and dramatically increase tenant’s sense of safety and ownership of their properties.”