I have today been speaking with various folks involved in the campaign to remove the fencing that has prevented boats from using the public quay at Mistley. In 2008 the quay operators constructed, without warning, a 2m high fence endinng 500 years of access to this popular overnight mooring.
In 2009, emergency services had to enlist the help of locals to remove some of the fence sections so that an RNLI vessel could transfer four people into an ambulance.
Locals have attempted to get the quay classified as a village green, but, the local and county councils have twice refused to hear the case being put under the threat of a legal battle that they cannot afford by the quay operators.
Last week it emerged the company are now planning to replace this fencing with more permanent fencing. However, at the weekend Tendring District Council finally succombed to their legal obligations and an immediate Article 4 (1) direction for the land was imposed, which will include public consultation over what should be allowed at the site.
The Direction came into force on April 27 and a notice was posted on the existing fence and will remain in force until October 27, 2012.
This notice details that planning permission is needed for works including the erection, construction, maintenance, improvement or alteration of a gate, fence, wall or any other means of enclosing the land thereby ensuring that if the quay operators, TWL, do undertake any work â€“ it will be unlawful.
The Council said in a statement regarding this notice that; â€˜the aim of the direction is to gain control over works which could have a negative effect on the character of the Conservation Areaâ€™.
The public consultation will run from May 4th until May 25th during which time any written submissions will be accepted from any interested parties. Representations should be sent to: Temporary Head of Planning, Planning Services, Tendring District Council, Council Offices, Thorpe Road, Weeley, Clacton-on-Sea,CO16 9AJ.
The people running the campaign in Mistley are asking that the word be passed around rapidly, given the small window for representation, and ask all boaters - especially those that have previously visited the quay or who MAY wish to visit the quay in future, write and detail their objection to this or any other major sort of fencing that would restrict them.
Basically their message is 'Please Help'