Quay fence campaigners vow to fight on

HUNDREDS of villagers packed a public meeting last night to protest at plans to erect an “exclusion” fence at an historic quayside.

Lizzie Parry

HUNDREDS of villagers packed a public meeting last night to protest at plans to erect an “exclusion” fence at an historic quayside.

Residents of Mistley, near Manningtree, are furious at the plans to build a 1.8metre-high metal fence at the picturesque quay.

Last night, a public meeting was held at Mistley Church Hall and locals pledged to continue to fight the proposals.

Simon Bullimore, member of the newly-formed committee Free the Quay, called for locals and visitors to help stop the erection of the fence being proposed by the quay owners.

He said: “It is one of the ugliest fences I have ever seen, it is ghastly. A display of public feeling such as what we have here tonight will have a hugely greater effect than sitting back and waiting for something else to be done.”

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Protestors have called for anyone who uses or values the quay to join their campaign. They fear they are about to lose a much-loved and regularly-used amenity and that one of the most stunning views in Essex will be gone forever.

Gerry Brown, a yachtsman from East Bergholt who has used the quay for 30 years, told the meeting: “By putting up that fence, hundreds of years of traditions will go out the window - this can't carry on.”

As the meeting was held, protestors continued to man the quay, preventing workers from extending the fence in their absence.

Earlier yesterday, dozens of people in Mistley were stationed along the proposed path of the metal fence.

They have been manning the quay around the clock since 7am on Monday when work at the quay, which started on Friday, was due to resume.

Trent Wharfage, which owns the site, has said it is simply complying with a request from the Health and Safety Executive and the fence will prevent anyone from falling into the River Stour.

But the protestors are determined to carry out a peaceful campaign and hope to make Trent Wharfage reconsider.

Representatives from the firm were invited to last night's meeting, but it is believed no-one was able to attend.

A statement issued earlier this week said: “The company is following the requirement of the Docks Regulations 1988 by installing a 1.8m safety fence along a 130m length of the port currently not in use for discharge and loading operations.”

Tendring District Council is currently assessing the size and location of the fence and is set to determine whether the company will need to seek planning permission for it.

If planning permission is required, the council could force Trent Wharfage to pull down the fence or reduce it in height.

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