Villagers angered by fencing at priory

THE owners of an historic priory have told how they felt forced to put up a fence to protect their listed building from joyriding and drug dealing.The Sergeant family applied for planning permission to put a fence up around The Bury at St Osyth Priory, which locals used for parking.

By Annie Davidson

THE owners of an historic priory have told how they felt forced to put up a fence to protect their listed building from joyriding and drug dealing.

The Sergeant family applied for planning permission to put a fence up around The Bury at St Osyth Priory, which locals used for parking.

Tendring District Council refused the application - but at the weekend a temporary metal fence was erected around The Bury.


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Last night, Tim Sergeant said in a statement: “As the owners of St Osyth Priory we take our custodial duties regarding this listed building very seriously.

“Unfortunately we have been experiencing increasing problems on The Bury with anti-social behaviour which has been both unpleasant to live with and detrimental to The Bury itself.

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“For example lorries and cars parking on The Bury, joyriding late at night and apparent drug dealing.

“We are appealing the council's decision regarding proposals for The Bury that were endorsed by English Heritage without reservation.

“We have taken advice from the local police force and have erected a fence as a purely temporary measure until a decision has been made or a solution found with the local parish council and to prevent further degradation to The Bury.”

St Osyth parish and Tendring district councillor Michael Talbot said there were usually at least 20 cars parked at The Bury but on special occasions such as wedding days there could be 30 or 40.

He compared fencing off The Bury to fencing off Hyde Park in London: “You would not be talking about the quality of the fence you would be talking about whether it would be right to fence it off in the first place.”

He added: “In the middle of the 1200s, St Osyth was granted a Royal Charter to have fairs and markets outside the fixed walls of the Priory.

“That right was granted by the Monarch at the time and people are extremely proud of it.”

Mr Talbot said that although he had sympathy with the problems the Sergeant family were experiencing, the village should not be punished for a problem that was a police matter.

Nigel Brown, communications manager at Tendring District Council, said: “We are aware of the situation at the Priory and it is being monitored

“We will be discussing the issue with the applicants and we will have to decide whether the temporary fence requires planning permission or not.”

Last night the police officers with responsibility for St Osyth could not be reached for comment.

annie.davidson@eadt.co.uk

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