SECURITY fencing proposed for a Dorchester school site has been described as looking as if it would surround a prison.

Town councillors have objected to the height and look of the fencing being planned for St Osmund’s Middle School.

The view is shared by some residents adjacent to the 10-acre site, although almost everyone says they appreciate the need for better security at the school.

Said one: “As a parent of children at St Osmunds School, I support the application to erect a perimeter fence. At the moment anyone is able to enter school grounds which as a parent is very concerning especially at lunchtime when children are playing on the school field and could be approached by a stranger.”

One resident of Standfast Walk says the existing chain link fence is 1.8metres tall and can be seen through, making it less obtrusive, while the proposed fence would be 2.4metres tall in green metal and less opaque.

“This will give the effect of living in a compound or prison-like environment rather than in a family home. In addition, I would suggest that the new fencing would be in eyesore and, thus, have a detrimental effect in my property… if the new fence was the same height as the existing fence of 1.8 metres, this would somewhat alleviate the eyesore.

Another resident, from Standfast Walk, added: “If the new fence was allowed and erected this would look like a prison exercise ground rather than a division between open school grounds and an established residential estate. This is totally out of keeping for the houses in our location and orientation.”

Said Cllr Stella Jones, a former teacher: “I understand why they want the fence but it’s too high in my view and too dense…you need to be able to see through it to the greenery behind,” she told a town planning meeting.

Cllr Gareth Jones said he thought the fencing looked like something which might be seen around Portland prison.

Planning committee chairman Cllr Robin Potter said he also saw the need for the fencing but said it did not to be as robust and could be less severe.

Said Cllr Molly Rennie: “We support the fencing but should ask that they look at the type and height…it needs to be high enough to stop people getting over.”

Her view was supported by Cllr Les Fry who asked that the school revisit the type of fencing it is proposing.

The committee also called for any new fencing to include small ground level holes to allow hedgehogs to continue travelling through the area at night.

The proposed works also include cutting back some trees and the widening of some school paths.