St Margaret’s Hedge residents survey results

Published Thu, 10/03/2016 by

Hall Farm Road and Eaton Close – To fence or not to fence? That is the question

Headline findings

  • Only one resident is actively in favour of removal of the entire hedge
  • The majority (62%) are keen to keep the hedge – 8 respondents
  • The remainder (31%) are more neutral but most err on the side of retaining the hedge – 4 respondents
  • The compromise option did not attract any support.

Background/methodology

I visited the area on two occasions in the early evening, in order to catch as many people as possible. I selected those who were close to the church and could see the hedge from their properties. I explained that we were consulting them on three options. I stressed that, whilst resident’s views were being sought, other matters such as cost were being taken into account by the parish. They understood that the final decision lay with the parish and a few expressed some sympathy with the dilemma we faced. Residents were pleased to have been asked.
I visited 18 homes and obtained 13 responses – a 72 % turn out.
Because of the number of not sure/no specific option responses, these are recorded. This was not an option for the parish survey, although I suspect that those that fell into this category did not participate.

Detailed comments

I cannot stress how little support there is for the look of the new fencing which they have seen in place. Comments included “it’s rubbish”, “looks a mess”, “will make the place look scruffy – affect the value of houses”, “it’s not a fence”, “It won’t last”.
Some remarked that the grass edging below the current section of fencing was already eroding as walkers by-passed it and were concerned that this would extend to be the entire perimeter.
Views were mixed about the impact of any change on anti-social behaviour. One resident valued the hedge to mask the lights from cars using the church for evening meetings.
A couple of people suggested that a better quality fence than that proposed might be worth considering.
There was general satisfaction with the current pristine condition of the hedge.

Conclusions and recommendations

However unhelpful this may seem, it is important that we consulted the community and whatever the outcome, the way that it is achieved will be seen to be considerate, provided we continue to communicate. I therefore a recommend that we should inform each home in writing before the diggers arrive.
Whilst there is considerable “fatigue” around the parish about this issue, I suggest that we also consider whether there are other fencing options which may look better and be more sustainable in the longer term.

Anne Halliday, 8 March 2016