A SECONDARY school has applied to fence off its grounds to stop "miscreants" trespassing on the site.

A 2.4 metre high fence could be installed around the perimeter of Holy Family Catholic School in Keighley if a new application by the school is approved by Bradford Council.

In a letter to the Council, the school has said that it has left its grounds open to act as an "urban park" since the 1960s - but that increasing cases of anti social activity on the site means this will soon come to an end.

It says staff regularly find drug paraphernalia on the site, and that people have been "increasingly assertive" about their right to access school grounds when confronted by staff.

The secondary school, which has over 900 pupils, is based on a three hectare site off Spring Gardens Lane, a short distance from Cliffe Castle Park.

As well as the school buildings the site has sports pitches and large open fields.

The planning application is for a fence around the school's entire perimeter.

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A letter from the school to the Council explains why the school is "reluctantly" planning to close off the site to the public.

It says: "Currently the site is very open and local people assume that there is a right of way which cuts across the school grounds. This has been checked with the Rights Of Way Office and a right of way does not exist.

"PE lessons in the grounds are regularly disrupted by strangers passing through the grounds on the alleged right of way and people frequently exercise their dogs in the school grounds out of hours.

"The site also suffers significantly from “visitors” out-of-hours, mostly fairly harmless just seeking somewhere to chill but we have to check the grounds every morning before school opens just in case.

"We find evidence of trespass nearly every day and evidence of abuse (rather than mere use) in the form of drug waste, broken windows or other damage about twice every three months.

"The school is community-minded and has maintained the grounds as an “urban park” for many years allowing people to use the site for games or other recreation out-of-hours.

"However, we believe that the time has now come to fence the perimeter and enclose the school grounds not least because the amount of anti-social activity is increasing."

It goes on to say that school inspectors often point out how open the site is, and how this could cause safeguarding concerns.

It says when pupils have outdoor classes at least one member of staff constantly has to be on the look out for people on school grounds.

The letter adds: "Miscreants are being increasingly assertive about their 'rights' to use the school grounds and we have a duty of care to the Site Team who hold a security brief.

"The school building are also used extensively by the community in the evenings and at weekends. This entails a Caretaker “lone working” during the lets to ensure security and there have been too many incidents when they have felt threatened or unsafe when moving people on from the site.

"The school has maintained the buildings and grounds as a community resource since its inception in the 1960s. The grounds form part of the “green corridor across the town and have been left available out-of-hours for local people as an urban park. Sadly, given the changing social milieu we now feel hat we have no option except – very reluctantly - to enclose the site with a perimeter fence."

A decision on the application is expected next month.