Broken fence sparks safety fears for mum

Nicola Stirling Jones holding her son Ollie (right) and neighbour Paula Hare. Picture by Steve Robards.
Nicola Stirling Jones holding her son Ollie (right) and neighbour Paula Hare. Picture by Steve Robards.

A mother called on a housing association to replace a broken fence with ‘rusty nails sticking out’ after her baby son was hurt.

Nicola Stirling Jones, 37, lives with her husband and 17-month-old son, Ollie, at Woodland Avenue, Burgess Hill, in a first floor maisonette.

She said: “We are now worried that our son will hurt himself more seriously because Affinity Sutton are refusing to take responsibility for this.

“We have stood pallets up against this fence to try and prevent this and also because there are rusty nails sticking out of it where it has broken.

“Ollie has managed to get to the fence before we can reach him as he loves spending time at our neighbour’s and he knows he can get to her via the gate.

“He has had a few grazes from the rotten wood and some splinters. Thankfully nothing more serious.”

The couple noticed the ‘rotting fence’ before they moved in 2013 but were told by their neighbour, Paula Hare, 47, a cook at Woodland Meed School, in Burgess Hill, that their housing association, Affinity Sutton, would not replace it.

However, other tenants’ fences had been replaced before the couple moved in, which drove Nicola to get in contact with the housing association in June last year.

Nicola said she was either put on hold or disconnected when she called the housing association. A repair was arranged in September but was cancelled by the association which told her ‘repairs and dividing fences are tenants’ responsibility’.

An Affinity Sutton spokeswoman said it now had a ‘stricter approach and residents have to fix fences themselves, as this is part of the new tenancy agreement’.

She added: “We may have previously adopted a softer approach but now it is ultimately the tenants’ responsibility.”

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