SCHOOL caretaker Trevor Osborne is fighting plans to turn his Cove home into a "prison".

He and his wife Yvonne live in a detached house in the grounds of Oak Farm community school, where he has worked for 30 years.

And he says that plans to erect a 6ft high metal security fence around the 460-pupil school will shut them off from the outside world.

Mr Osborne said on Monday: "The entrance gate will be locked throughout the night, leaving us cut off from any friends who want to call in.

"The postman, milkman and paperboy won't be able to reach us either. We don't want to be closed off from the rest of the community in this way."

He also fears that his three-bedroom house, which comes with the job, will be a target for yobs if it sits behind the fence.

"We've never had any trouble with vandals, but I'm afraid that might change if our house is inside the compound," he continued.

Temptation

"Our house would be the nearest building to the fence and could well become a temptation for any youngsters wanting to throw bricks and bottles."

Mr Osborne contacted the Star because he was upset at, as he sees it, not being consulted over the final blueprint for the fence.

"I only heard about it when someone said the planning application had been published by Rushmoor Council," he said.

He knew discussions were taking place about the possibility of fencing off the 20-acre school site on the Prospect estate, but thought it was only at the "wish list" stage.

"I would have thought out of courtesy someone would have mentioned the detailed plan to me," said Mr Osborne. "Instead I seem to have been snubbed."

As soon as he learned of the plan he fired off "don't fence me in" pleas to his bosses at Hampshire County Council, which is responsible for the scheme, and to Oak Farm head-teacher Grenville Earney.

The fence, to replace one which fell down years ago, is required to make the school secure and to stop pedestrians and motorists using the grounds as a short cut.

Mr Earney later disputed Mr Osborne's claim that he had been kept in the dark about the scheme which, he said, had involved six months of consultations.

"All staff, including Mr Osborne, were at a meeting in February where we outlined what was envisaged," he continued.

He said that, as the house was part of the school's property, it was not feasible to allow it to stand outside the fence.

But he added: "Even at this stage I think it might be reasonably simple to put in a pedestrian gate for Mr Osborne's use."