Mistley: New hopes quay fence will go after inspector recommends area be given Village Green status

Mistley quay wall has been awarded Grade II listing

Mistley quay wall has been awarded Grade II listing - Credit: Archant

Campaigners hoping to see a two-metre tall fence removed from a popular beauty spot have been buoyed by a report recommending the area be given Village Green status.

Members of the Free The Quay group in Mistley, north Essex, have been calling for the barrier to be removed from Mistley Quay since it was erected in 2008 by TW Logistics (TWL), the distribution firm that owns the quay.

The group says the area has long been a place where people have met to enjoy the views and gain access to the water and that the fence impedes these activities.

It applied for the spot to be given Village Green status in 2010 to show that it had been used for leisure purposes for many years and to guarantee access to area in the future.

A public inquiry into the issue was held in the summer.

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The inspector appointed by Essex County Council (ECC) to consider the application, Alun Aylesbury, has now reported back to the council with a recommendation the quay be given Village Green status.

While the recommendation must now be considered by the county council’s development and regulation committee before a final decision is reached, Free The Quay see this as an important milestone in their battle and are optimistic the committee will adopt the inspector’s findings.

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Simon Bullimore, chairman of the group, said: ”It is now five years since the fence on the edge of the quay was erected and it has been a long and costly struggle to establish the rights, which the people of Mistley have always known existed, to use the quay for recreational purposes.

“The whole community has supported our campaign.

“I would like to thank them all and particularly those who have given time and resources to the preparation of the evidence for the public inquiry.”

“Without their practical and financial support we would not have achieved this outstandingly successful result.”

Mr Bullimore said that while he was aware any positive decision to give the quay Village Green status will not automatically result in the removal of the fence, he hopes it will enable the group to negotiate with TWL to have a more suitable barrier erected.

He added: “Free the Quay has always tried to establish a dialogue with Mr Parker, the owner of TWL, who erected the fence, and will continue to seek agreement on a different form of barrier acceptable to TWL and the local community, and appropriate to the Mistley conservation area. It is time to build bridges not fences”

TWL said it will not be commenting until after a decision has been made by Essex County Council’s development and regulation committee.

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