New development in quay row saga

AN HISTORIC quayside at the centre of a row over a “security” fence could soon be off-limits to boats and barges that have moored there for decades, it was claimed last night.

Elliot Furniss

AN HISTORIC quayside at the centre of a row over a “security” fence could soon be off-limits to boats and barges that have moored there for decades, it was claimed last night.

A planning application has been submitted to remove a series of bollards along Mistley Quay, which protesters fighting the erection of a 6ft metal fence at the site said would stop vessels mooring.

They said the move would render the quay inaccessible from the waterside and have called for Tendring District Council to reject the application.

Members of the Free the Quay group have held protests in recent months against quay landowner Trent Wharfage after it put up a security fence along a stretch of the popular site.

The firm said it was acting on advice from the Health and Safety Executive and was simply following its guidelines to make the waterfront area more secure and reduce the risk to the public.

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But since work began on the fence in September, Mistley residents and many other people who have used the quay for years have complained that Trent Wharfage has ignored their calls for a more “aesthetically pleasing” barrier, which they would accept.

Now, the news that the seven tethering bollards along the fenced-off stretch could also be removed has dealt a further blow to the campaign group.

The application would also see the removal of raised kerbs from around the area, which is known as the Maltings, and see concrete used to fill in gaps on the quayside.

Free the Quay's Kate Worsley said the group had known about the bid since before Christmas and had been under the impression that it was aimed at “tidying up” the site.

She said: “Then a letter was sent to someone from the Maltings which said they would be removing all the yellow bollards along the 130 metre quay.

“The fence is one thing, but if they take away the bollards that have been there for centuries then no-one will be able to moor there at all.”

The group has set up its own website highlighting the anti-fence campaign and its members have been busily preparing objections to the latest planning application before today's deadline.

A special Free the Quay Jamboree was held last month and hundreds of visitors to Mistley have now signed a petition opposing the fence, adding to the online support the group has received through its website.

Last night nobody at either Trent Wharfage or building firm Gladedale, which has submitted the application to remove the bollards, was available for comment.