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Kathy Steward hopes deer prevention fencing outside her Bury St Edmunds property next to Cotton Lane allotments will come down





A disgruntled property owner has said ‘it’s like looking out on a prison’ after a town council put in fencing to keep deer out of allotments.

Kathy Steward has complained to Bury St Edmunds Town Council after the metal fencing appeared outside her house in Bury St Edmunds’ Cotton Lane – without prior consultation.

Town clerk Jodie Budd has apologised for not informing residents of the plans and said the town council would be applying for retrospective planning permission for the fencing outside and alongside Kathy’s property.

Kathy Steward said there was no consultation before the fence went up outside her property
Kathy Steward said there was no consultation before the fence went up outside her property
Cotton Lane allotments, in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Mecha Morton
Cotton Lane allotments, in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Mecha Morton
Muntjac deer
Muntjac deer

The town council spent about £27,000 plus VAT to install fencing around the Cotton Lane allotments site to prevent muntjac deer from accessing it – a project that had been called for by allotment holders.

Kathy said her house, which borders the allotments, had been ‘fenced in’, adding: “It’s like looking out on a prison. There was no prior consultation whatsoever with any of the residents.”

She believes the fencing is ‘gross overkill’, describing it as ‘like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut’, and that it was not going to be effective if allotment holders left the gate open.

Kathy Steward said it was like looking out on a 'prison'
Kathy Steward said it was like looking out on a 'prison'
The view from Kathy's Cotton Lane property before the fencing to keep deer out of the allotments was installed
The view from Kathy's Cotton Lane property before the fencing to keep deer out of the allotments was installed

She added: “I’m hoping that when it goes to planning, the prison directly in front of us will come down. They have imprisoned me...but the muntjac can walk through the gate.”

Kathy, who lives in a nearby village and rents the Cotton Lane property out, is also worried about the fence’s impact on the home’s value.

Jodie said: “We hold our hands up and residents should have been consulted and that was our error and we are going to apply for planning permission for the new bit of fence where the brick wall is outside her property.

“We have got to take that to planning which we didn’t realise. And with regards to the gate, once the fencing has been completed all the Cotton Lane allotment holders will be told not to leave the gate open.”

She added: “We have spent all this money on getting the fence done and if they leave the gate open it’s pointless.”

Malcolm Waller, acting chair of the Cotton Lane Allotment Holders’ Association, said the fencing was ‘absolutely needed’ and it was something the allotment holders had been campaigning for for many years.

The Cotton Lane Allotment Holders’ Association had been calling for fencing to keep the deer out. Picture: Mecha Morton
The Cotton Lane Allotment Holders’ Association had been calling for fencing to keep the deer out. Picture: Mecha Morton

He said: “We have got such a problem with muntjac. It goes back 10/12/15 years. That’s how long we have had a problem with muntjac. It’s been getting worse and worse and worse.

“It got to the point where you cannot grow anything without putting barricades around your allotment and we have had people leave because of it. You put something in the ground and as soon as it starts shooting the muntjac eat it.”

He added: “The allotments are a community but we are losing the community because people are packing up. The reason people are leaving is because of the muntjac.”

He said they had been trying to talk allotment holders into staying because of the new fencing.

The installation of the fencing is set to be completed in a few weeks.