Allotments in a mesh as deer beat fence

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ALLOTMENT holders in Bury St Edmunds say an anti-deer fence installed by the council is not up to the job.

The fence, installed six weeks ago at the Cotton Lane allotments, has a wire mesh large enough for small muntjac deer to squeeze through.

It means the gardeners’ greens still keep being gobbled up by the hungry animals.

The matter was discussed at the finance, policy and resources committee of Bury Town Council on April 13, where plans to upgrade the fence were put forward.

Simon Curtis, chairman of Cotton Lane Allotment Association, said the council made an error of judgement with the size of the mesh.

He said: “I am grateful for the council for putting up the structure but think that more care and due diligence should have been made in making sure the mesh for the fence was correct.

“The deer eat any new growth on the plants, leaving them decimated for the rest of the year.”

Bill Browning, who rents a plot on the allotment site, said something needed to be done quickly to stop his crops being ruined.

He said: “The council put up a supposedly deer-proof fence at Christmas but the smaller female deer can still get through.

“During the winter nobody had any broccoli or cabbage or any other vegetables, it is a big problem – the deer will eat everything in sight.”

A full town council meeting on May 18 will discuss the issue.

Town and borough councillor David Nettleton said the fence was the first step in a long-term plan to tackle the troublesome animals.

He said: “The idea of the fencing was to make it harder for the deer to get at the allotments, which it has done.

“The long-term plan is that as the deer find it harder to get through the fence, they will move from the area to somewhere they can graze easier.

“I think people thought it would be a quick fix but it is going to take a lot longer for the deer’s habits to change.”