A DECISION to build a security fence at a Blackburn school has come under fire.

Objectors have accused Blackburn town hall of a costly U-turn following months of wrangling.

A pressure group was formed last year after plans to fence off the popular Buncer Wood were unveiled.

The move led to a long running dispute between the Witton Park Users Group and Blackburn with Darwen Council.

The wood was closed off in a bid to keep dogs away from Witton High School's playing fields.

Lancashire County Council claimed there was not enough money to completely surround the school and they argued the best option was the fence around Buncer Wood.

Experts estimated a security palisade around Witton High would cost at least £20,000 compared to £2,000 for the Buncer Wood fence.

But local residents and walkers' groups were furious at the decision and campaigned for the woods to be reopened to the public. Blackburn with Darwen Council came up with a compromise package and agreed to build a gate in the controversial barricade.

But work has recently started on a second fence near Witton High with cash coming from the school's budget.

Peter Newton, one of the organisers of the Witton Park Users Group, said: "We fought for months with the council over this fence.

"They told us there was not enough money and then all of a sudden work starts on the fence.

"It seems ridiculous that after all the time and effort they have gone back to the original plan."

A spokeswoman for Blackburn with Darwen Council said: "A palisade fence is being erected around the north end of the school to prevent the public trespassing on school fields. Public access to Witton Country Park is unaffected by the new fencing.

"Staff and pupils at the school have experienced problems with dog excreta on the playing fields, but there have also been problems with cattle wandering on to the fields.

"Staff have been forced to go on to the fields to shoo the animals away, therefore the school's governors considered the new fencing a priority."

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