Supreme Court rules in legal battle over Mistley Quay village green status

Campaigners have won a legal battle to keep Mistley Quay as a village green Picture: ARCHANT

The Supreme Court dismissed an appeal over the status of Mistley Quay on Friday - Credit: Archant

A long-running dispute over a fenced-off concrete area of quayside has been settled in the Supreme Court.

The row began in 2008 when a two-metre high metal fence was installed around Mistley Quay by landowner TW Logistics.

The port operator claimed the fence was necessary on health and safety grounds, but local objectors successfully campaigned for the area to be registered as a village green by Essex County Council in 2013 following a public inquiry.

When a High Court challenge was overturned, TW Logistics went to the Court of Appeal, which upheld the original decision.

On Friday, the Supreme Court dismissed a final appeal by TW Logistics, which had argued that registration of the land as a village green would criminalise the landowner’s existing commercial activities and that use of the land by local inhabitants was not “as of right”.

Justices said the landowner could continue to undertake activities of the same general quality and level as before, as well as new and different activities, provided they did not interfere with the right of the public to use the land for lawful sports and pastimes.

"Local inhabitants have to exercise their rights over a town or village in a fair and reasonable way, so as to respect the concurrent reasonable and established use by the landowner. This has become known as the principle of give and take," read a judgement handed down by Lord Sales and Lord Burrows.

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Nigel Farthing, former senior partner and public law specialist at Birketts law firm, who represented local applicant Ian Tucker at the initial public inquiry, said: “This is a fantastic day for our tenacious and publicly spirited client who has safeguarded the rights of inhabitants to enjoy spending time on the quayside at Mistley.”

Mr Tucker added: “This truly is a momentous day for myself and the community of Mistley, who can now appreciate the sweeping views of the River Stour visible from the quayside without limitation.

"It has been a long and complicated process but we are very grateful for the continued support of the Birketts’ team, who have been with us every step of the way, demonstrating excellent knowledge and expertise.”

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