Campaigners vow to fight on in fence row

CAMPAIGNERS last night vowed to continue the fight to stop a metal fence being put up along a picturesque quay.

Craig Robinson

CAMPAIGNERS last night vowed to continue the fight to stop a metal fence being put up along a picturesque quay.

Tendring District Council has said it is powerless to prevent Trent Wharfage Ltd from erecting the two-metre barrier at Mistley.

But last night members of protest group Free the Quay said the fence - which they claim is spoiling views and preventing vital access - was breaking planning laws and asked the local authority to review its position.

A spokesman for Tendring District Council said the barrier did not amount to a development requiring planning permission because it was not next to a public highway.

He also said dock or harbour undertakings have their own specific rights to carry out development for the purpose of shipping or in connection with the handling of goods and the fence could be erected under those powers.

Most Read

However Free the Quay disagree and claim a maintainable highway does exist - running from three different points on Mistley High Street and along a narrow strip on the landward (south) side of the quay - and therefore the fence does need planning permission.

Simon Bullimore, a member of the group, said: “Trent Wharfage and Tendring District Council must be aware that rights to use a highway arise in much the same way as pedestrian rights of way.

“A highway is defined as 'a way over which all members of the public have a right to pass and repass'. Free the Quay believes that in the case of the quay, rights of passage by vehicles have been acquired by public use without interruption over a long period of years. Tendring District Council should recognise this.”

Campaigners had formed a human barricade on the quay front to halt the progress of the fence erection.

Trent Wharfage Ltd - which owns Mistley Quay - has said the fence is necessary and stems from advice given by the Health and Safety Executive under the requirements of the Docks Regulations Act 1988.

A spokesman said: “The erection of a fence of this nature is a minor operational development falling within the class of permitted development and therefore not a development of sufficient significance to require planning permission.

“The open mesh steel panel fence is identical to the existing adjacent fencing around a cargo storage area. Whilst being fit for purpose, serving to minimise risk of personal injury and material damage, it has minimal visual impact on the port environs.

“The open mesh steel panel fence is less visually intrusive than commercial alternatives such as steel pallisade, tubular bar or close boarding which are used in comparable commercial situations and also elsewhere on the Mistley Quay premises.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter