05 Jun 2014
Fences: the good, the bad, and the ugly
Posted by Super User

What do you think of when the word “fence” is mentioned? Maybe the white picket fences of the American dream and stories of Tom Sawyer, perhaps the high security fences in that prison movie you just watched, or possibly the unattractive fence that sticks out for all the wrong reasons in your neighbourhood? Whatever images are conjured up, it can be surprising to some that the issue of fences has important implications in a wide range of situations, both positive and negative.

As proof, we can see a diversity of fence-based stories in the news – the good, the bad, and the ugly – which shows the impact that fencing can have on local communities. 

First, a “good” news fencing story about improving the safety and aesthetics of a playing field in the Birmingham area. Up to now, Burford Road Playing Fields has had a depressingly grey surrounding fence that looks more like it should be keeping inmates in, rather than people out when the field is closed. However, the council has just approved plans to move the current eyesore, which is not even particularly secure, and replace it with more appealing and safety-conscious fencing in a “moss green” colour. This is a good example of a change in fencing that can offer a more attractive look and extra security at the same time, which can only benefit the local area.

How about the “bad” side of fencing news? Unfortunately, there are frequent examples in the UK of fence theft, sometimes worth thousands of pounds. Recently, a local businessman in Derby had around £1,000 of fencing wood and equipment stolen. The owner believes that based on how much was taken, the thieves must have spent several hours breaking into the workshop and hauling out the stolen timber and tools. It is sad for local businesses to suffer from theft in a costly way like this, but it shows the value and demand of fencing goods, albeit in a regretful situation.

Lastly, moving on to the “ugly”, a recent clash between a farmer and local nature campaigners in Frome, Somerset has resulted in a dramatic piece of fencing which has angered dog-walkers but has also gained some support from people living nearby. The farmer, Alan Brunt, was successful in purchasing Rodden Lake Stream Meadow, after local ramblers had attempted to block the deal. Following the purchase, Mr Brunt built a 6ft-high, 300ft-long steel fence, for agricultural purposes, which now stands either side of the public footpath on that land and resembles the kind of high security measures found in prisons or protecting industrial estates. Although there are arguments to be made for and against the fence, there is little doubt that this falls strictly on the “ugly” side of fencing, a point conceded even by Mr Brunt.

It is fair to say that the topic of fences is something that many of us can take for granted, however these stories help to show the different sides of fencing and the influence it can have in everyday life.