Case in the High Court : from Free The Quay
The High Court hearing into TWL’s application to cancel the registration of the Village Green finished on Friday 15 July.
During the 7-day hearing the Court heard evidence from Mr Parker of TWL and two other TWL witnesses, one of them a traffic expert, Ian Tucker and Keith Garwood. Essex County Council argued the case for upholding the registration of the TVG in an extensive closing submission.
All parties have been asked by the judge to come back with further statements to clarify the position on points of law, which the Claimant TWL had raised in his closing submission; a final judgement is not expected until after the summer break.
Update: April 2015
The battle to establish the right of the community to use Mistley Quay as a Village Green has moved to the High Court.
Following a nine day inquiry conducted by Alun Alesbury QC on behalf of Essex County Council almost two years ago, the Council declared Mistley Quay to be a Village Green. As a result, the people of Mistley and visitors to the area could continue to enjoy activities which had always taken place on the Quay.
TW Logistics, the operator of the port at Mistley, has now applied to the High Court for the decision of ECC to be reviewed; ECC will be defending their decision at a hearing later this year which is expected to last between 5 and 10 days.
In the meantime, nothing will prevent the local community from continuing to use the Quay. A number of fundraising events are planned for the summer to meet the costs of supporting ECC in defending the proceeding brought by TWL. Please visit Free The Quay for more details.
Quay is Britain's newest village green - even though there isn't a blade of grass in sight
The Independent 8 August 2014
With its concrete apron, occasional passing HGV or forklift truck and backdrop of decaying industrial buildings, Thorn Quay is far removed from the traditional image of an English village green.
But for the community of Mistley on the banks of the River Stour, whose previous residents range from a zealous Witchfinder General to an 18th Century MP who wanted to turn it into a world-beating spa, rarely takes no for an answer. As a result it is celebrating after winning a six-year legal battle to have a stretch of historic concrete quayside belonging to a bulk port operator designated England’s newest - and perhaps most unusual - village green.
The ruling by Essex County Council that the 60mx10m area of waterfront known as Thorn Quay, with sweeping views over the river estuary and a population of resident swans, has been used as a public area for at least two decades - not to mention the best part of three centuries - is a hard-won victory for campaigners who have fought to have a 6ft fence barring access to the river taken down.
Click for the full article in the Independent
Mistley: New hopes quay fence will go after inspector recommends area be given Village Green status
East Anglian Daily Times: 8th November 2013
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.
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.
Click to view the EADT full article
Fence campaign could be ending
ITV Anglia: Sunday 3rd November 2013 at 7pm
A public inquiry into the application to have the Quay declared a village green took place in June and July this year and witnesses spoke of how they had used the area for recreational purposes for 20 years. However, objectors argued that the area needed to be fenced off for public safety. **Both sides are now waiting for the inspector, Mr Alun Alesbury, to report to Essex County Council.
Click to view full article on itv.com
Village green bid for concrete Mistley quay
BBC News Essex: 24th June 2013
A public inquiry is under way into an application to get a concrete quay declared a village green.
The village green status bid follows a row over a fence put up five years ago by the owner of Mistley Quay, in Essex. . But campaigners, who say it is an eyesore which restricts access, have applied for village green status in the hope it will force TWL to remove the fence.
The inquiry, under way at Mistley Village Hall, is expected to last four days. The inspector hearing the village green application will produce a report for Essex County Council which will then decide the matter.
Click to view full article on BBC News Essex
Mistley Quay fence campaign future decided at meeting
Gazette: 2nd October 2012
ANTI-FENCE campaigners who are fearful of more damage to their beauty spot will hear of their fate at a planning meeting.
Tendring Council’s planning committee will decide whether to permanently activate a rarely used piece of legislation on Mistley Quay fence at its meeting on Tuesday, October 2.
Click to view full article on Gazette website
green: new move to win back quay access
Campaign group advised to apply to change site's legal
Essex County Standard - 17th September 2010
A protest group has launched a fresh attempt to get
public access to Mistley Quay restored.
group Free The Quay is now applying for the quay to become a
village green under the 2006 Commons Act.
This would mean the fence would have to come down, but could
be replaced with a smaller barrier, allowing the public legal
access to the water.
Campaigners are hopeful the move could score them a victory
within six months. Click to view press article (pdf
Legal action for controversial fence?
Harwich & Manningtree Standard 7th May 2010
could be taken after a controversial fence on Mistley Quay
was repaired without planning permission, the Standard can
Council tabled a motion in March, which prevents any fences
or walls along the quay being altered, maintained or improved
without its permission.
officers visited the site last Friday after it was reported
a quay worker had damaged the fence and it had been repaired
by owners Trent Wharfage straightaway.
has confirmed it is taking legal advice after the revelations.
Nancy Bell, who lives on Mistley Quay, witnessed the event. She said: “The
fence was damaged by a quay worker last Thursday.
“ I saw one of them accidentally drive a crane into it and two panels came
crashing down to the floor.“ But they had repaired it and put the panels
back up again within half an hour.”
to the Article 4 Direction implemented by Tendring Council,
Trent Wharfage should have applied for planning permission
to put the panels back up again. But the council has confirmed
it was not consulted about the work and is considering taking
legal action against the Mistley Quay owners.
mean the company could be prosecuted or served with an enforcement
of campaign group Free the Quay, which has fought for the fence
to be taken down since it was put up in September 2008, said
they were aware of the situation. Simon Bullimore, of the group,
said: “We are of course supportive of Tendring Council
in enforcing planning law and if this can have some beneficial
effect on removing the fence then so much the better.”
Tendring Council’s communications manager, said the council
is aware of the damage caused to the fence at Mistley Quay
and officers have visited the site.
have investigated the situation and it appears that repairs
have been made to the fence,” he said. “We are
now looking into the next course of action and are taking the
necessary legal advice.”
was unavailable to comment.
New action in fence fight
Harwich & Manningtree Standard 19th March 2010
is being taken in a fight over a controversial fence in Mistley.
Council has announced it is applying for permission to enforce
new rules, which would mean any fences, walls or gates at Mistley
Quay would need planning permission. And any current fences
on the site would also need permission to be altered, maintained
comes after months of campaigning from residents in Mistley
after owners of the Quay, Trent Wharfage, erected a two metre
high fence at the site following health and safety advice in
group, Free the Quay have protested against the metal fence
Council, which believes the fence is excessive compared to
other ports in the area, has applied for an Article Four Direction.
Tendring’s cabinet member for planning, welcomed the
move which she said would mean much greater controls at the
quayside. “The existing fence has angered many people
who had previously enjoyed uninterrupted access to the water
and an unrestricted view over the Stour Estuary,” she
said. “On top of this, in October 2009, an emergency
rescue from the river was impeded by the fence and the council
fears a similar situation could arise in the future.”
added that putting up any structures two metres high without
proper planning controls could seriously affect the character
and appearance of the Manningtree and Mistley Conservation
Area. “The fact that the fence is also clearly able to
be seen from the High Street damages the Conservation Area
and the setting of listed buildings in this area,” she
council is therefore using its powers to make an Article 4
Direction to control walls, gates or fencing along the quayside.
This new way forward has been achieved through partnership
working between Tendring’s planning service, Essex County
Council and the community.”
fence at the quay was put up under permitted development rights
but the new rules would mean any new fences put up would have
to be given approval by Tendring Council’s planning department.
spokesperson for Free the Quay, said: “Free the Quay
whole-heartedly welcomes this very positive development, which
is thanks to the ongoing efforts of our local councils working
with the local and sailing communities to reopen the Quay.”
Four Direction is being submitted to the Secretary of State
for communities and local government for approval.
to increase control over structures at Quay
Tendring District Council -
18th March 2010
New action is to be taken in a bid to
gain strict control over any fencing, walls or gates being put up
at Mistley Quay.
Tendring District Council (TDC) is making the move to prevent
the construction, maintenance, improvement or alteration
of any such
features at the site - without the owners first seeking planning
Mistley Quay and Forwarding put up a two metre close-meshed wire
fence in 2008, claiming it had the power to do so under
development rights. The company, which owns and operates Mistley Port, said the
works were necessary to comply with health and safety requirements
but it attracted widespread objections from many residents
Council believes that the fence is excessive when compared to
other ports in the area. It is now going for an Article 4 Direction which will prevent
further similar structures over one metre unless planning
Sarah Candy, Cabinet Member for Planning at TDC, welcomed
the move which she said would mean much greater controls
quayside. "The existing fence has angered many people
who had previously enjoyed uninterrupted access to the water
and an unrestricted view over the
Stour Estuary," she said. "On top of this, in October
2009, an emergency rescue from the river was impeded by the
fence and the Council fears a similar situation
could arise in the future."
Candy added that putting up any structures two metres high without
proper planning controls could seriously affect
appearance of the Manningtree and Mistley Conservation
Area. "The fact that the fence is also clearly able to be seen
from the High Street damages the Conservation Area and the setting
of listed buildings in this area," she said. "The Council is therefore
using its powers to make an Article 4 Direction to control walls, gates or fencing
along the quayside. This new way forward has been achieved through partnership
working between TDC's Planning Service, Essex County Council
and the community."
The Article 4 Direction is being submitted to the Secretary
of State for Communities and Local Government for approval.
Keys given out for emergencies
Harwich & Manningtree
Standard 20th November 2009
KEYS have been
given to emergency services for access to a controversial quay.
owner of Mistley Quay, has given keys to police and coastguards
so they can access the site, which was fenced off last September,
in case of an emergency. The
move came after the fence was cut by the coastguards during a rescue
effort on the water at the quay on October 10.
the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) confirmed to the Standard
they would look into the situation.
In a statement this week, an HSE spokesman, said: “We have been informed
by Trent Wharfage that discussions have been held with the RNLI about access
to Mistley Quay. We understand the company has agreed to provide a key, so
coastguards can enter the working part of the dock. This means the RNLI will
have access to that area of Mistley Quay as well as other points already available
along the water.”
In the event
of an emergency, Thames Coastguard co-ordinates rescues which can
include sending RNLI teams out on the water.
Rosie Tapping, a spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, said the
incident last month saw a casualty rescued and then brought up alongside the
fenced off quay area, to be transferred to a rescue team. She said: “The
local coastguard have now been given a key, which allows them access to the
quay in the event that a casualty has been brought alongside that area.”
who it is believed already had an emergency access contact number
- arranged with the owners of the quay - have now also been given
a key. PC Chris Phillips, from Mistley police, said: “It’s
excellent that we’ve been given a key. It will enable us
to access the quay in an emergency and will hopefully mean that
any incident in that area can be dealt with swiftly.”
Since the two-metre
fence was erected, after advice from the HSE, protest group Free
the Quay have been campaigning to have it removed or replaced with
a smaller fence. Kate Worsley, Free the Quay spokeswoman, said
she felt the fact keys have been given to emergency services showed
there needed to be access to the quayside.
And Nancy Bell,
who lives opposite the fence on Mistley Quay, added: "I think
Trent Wharfage hides behind health and safety. They say the Health
and Safety Executive told them to put the fence up but years ago
they took ladders and lifebelts away.”
was unavailable for comment.
of Mistley Quay safety fence after rescue drama
Harwich & Manningtree Standard 19th October 2009
HEALTH and safety
chiefs are to review the need for a 2m-high fence at Mistley Quay.
The Health and
Safety Executive made the announcement in light of a rescue operation
which was hampered when rescuers had to remove a section of the
who staged a protest on Monday, after the rescue, welcomed the
news. Kate Worsley, Free the Quay spokesman, said: “It is
about time. That’s brilliant news. If it means they can talk
to the quay owners and find a more sensible and safer solution,
that’s fantastic. The HSE never asked for a fence on this
scale in the first place. If it can find a solution that satisfies
health and safety, we will be happy with it.”
The rescue on
Saturday afternoon saw three adults and a teenage boy plucked from
the River Stour after their boat sank. Passing yachts pulled three
of the party to safety, but one stayed with the boat before the
Harwich lifeboat took them to the quayside. Part of the steel fence
had to be unbolted by coastguards and residents before the lifeboat
could moor up and meet an ambulance.
The fence was
put up last September by Trent Wharfage, which was asked by the
Health and Safety Executive to install safety measures. A Health
and Safety Executive spokesman said: “In light of what has
happened, the HSE is reviewing the matter.”
When asked how much power the Health and Safety Executive would have in any
ruling it made, the spokesman added: “Any organisation would have to
follow HSE instruction.”
contacted Trent Wharfage yesterday but no one was available for
fence at Mistley Quay hits the headlines once again
'Protest sparked by quay rescue drama'
13th October 2009
Happenings at Mistley Quay
Committee Member, Charles Clover, who is also the Environment
Editor of The Daily Telegraph, has, through his column, given
national prominence to a local issue happening on the very
doorstep of the Dedham Vale. In his Telegraph piece Charles
states "The historic quay where Thames sailing barges
used to load grain is being blocked off with a two-metre-high
fence by Trent Wharfage Ltd. Infuriated locals say this has
cut off all sorts of established public rights of access to
the Stour estuary.
company says it was acting on the instructions of the Health
and Safety Executive, which gave it an ultimatum to replace
safety equipment or to declare the port out of use and fence
Councillor Kate Worsley, a member of the new action group "Free
the Quay", is asking concerned local people to write to
the relevant local authorities:
Opposition on the Wharf
John Osborn, 11th September 2008
Fletcher, Planning Dept, Tendring District Council, Council Offices,
Thorpe Road Weeley CO16 9AJ.
Chief Executive, Tendring District Council, Town hall, Station Road,
Clacton-on-Sea CO15 1SE.
Sian Walter-Browne, Legal Dept, Tendring District Council, Westleigh House,
Carnarvon Road, Clacton-on-Sea CO15 6QF.
Also Bernard Jenkin MP, House of Comons, London SW1A OAA.
Kate can be contacted via www.freethequay.org
Charles Clover can be contacted at (01206) 323403.
PRESS RELEASE Thursday 11 Sept 2008
Now they want to
stop cars too: response to TDC and Trent Wharfage
where it is planned to install more fencing within days. John
Osborn, 11th September 2008
Wharfage seems to believe that it can stop the public using Mistley
Quay altogether. First it tries to stop pedestrians and river
users from using the quay.
Now it wants to stop cars too. This is a highway and this is highway
robbery," says Simon Bullimore.
Wharfage (TWL) and Tendring District Council say there is no
road for vehicles on the quay. They are wrong.
public highway DOES exist at the quay
Essex County Council recognises that a publicly maintainable highway
to Mistley Quay DOES EXIST. This runs from three different points on
Mistley High Street and along a narrow strip on the landward (south)
side of the quay. The rest of the quay, owned by TWL, is the non-maintainable
highway which widens the strip so that vehicles can use it. This section
is the highway used by anyone driving onto the quay. It is used as such
by TWL and recognised as such in planning case law.
where the fence has already been erected.
John Osborn, 11th September 2008
TWL and TDC must
be aware that rights to use a highway arise in much the same way as
pedestrian rights of way. A highway is defined as 'a way over which
all members of the public have a right to pass and repass'. Free the
Quay believes that in the case of the quay, rights of passage by vehicles
have been acquired by public use without interruption over a long period
of years. TDC should recognise this.
Since Mistley Quay is a highway, planning consent is required for the fence.
The GPDO does not
Since the fence is adjacent to a highway and is more than a metre in height,
it is not covered by the General Permitted Development Order cited by TDC and
Free the Quay is
asking TDC to review this issue as a matter of urgency.
Kate Worsley via www.freethequay.org
PRESS RELEASE 3pm Tuesday 9 Sept
fails to resolve dispute: legal action inevitable
Free the Quay held a meeting with Trent Wharfage at noon today in the hope
of resolving the twin issues of the erection of the fence and public access
to the quay through dialogue.
Free the Quay is disappointed that Trent Wharfage made it clear that it is
determined to erect the fence very much in its current form with the declared
objective of preventing public access to the quayside either from land
or from the river. The fence is explicitly intended to prevent the public
from swimming, crabbing, fishing and mooring off the quay. It will even
stop people just gazing at the river.
The meeting leaves Free the Quay with no option but to pursue legal action
to stop the fence and to preserve public access to the quay and quayside.
Ian Rose, chairman of Mistley Parish Council, who was present at the meeting,
says: 'Everyone in the village has used this quay throughout their lifetimes
for all sorts of purposes –work and pleasure – and this right should
Free the Quay is aware that feeling is running high on this issue and does
not want to encourage unlawful or illmannered behaviour, but clearly has
no power to control the actions of all those who are opposed to the fence
and who wish to keep the quay public.
Representatives of Free the Quay and many local residents will be assembled
on the quay from 4.30pm this afternoon to answer any questions the press may
INFORMATION: Kate Worsley via www.freethequay.org
Anglian Daily Times, 11 September 2008
from Craig Robinson
fighting to stop a controversial fence being put up along a quay in
a picturesque Essex village suffered a blow last night after planning
bosses said they were powerless to intervene.
District Council said that Trent Wharfage Ltd was not breaking any
rules in putting up the metal barrier along Mistley quay.
result the authority cannot order the two metre fence be taken down
- despite the concerns of local residents who feel it is restricting
the view and cutting off public access to the quayside.
for Tendring District Council said the barrier did not amount to a
development requiring planning permission.
He added: “Secondly,
dock or harbour undertakings have their own specific rights to carry
out development for the purpose of shipping or in connection with the
handling of goods. It appears that the fence in question could also
be erected under those powers.
will be putting to the company (Trent Wharfage Ltd) and the Health
and Safety Executive the understandable local public concerns about
the appearance of the fence and its impact in limiting public access
to the waterside and the use of the quay by boats for mooring purposes.
this council has no powers to require the removal or modification of
the fence. Moreover, it has no jurisdiction over what private or public
rights may or may not exist over the land in question.”
Kate Worsley, a parish
councillor and member of protest group Free the Quay, said the campaigners
were taking legal advice and were optimistic about being able to establish
rights of way to the quay and the mooring.
told the fence is within a conservation area and therefore planning
rules and arrangements should apply,” she said. “However,
if that's what Tendring District Council has said then we will have
to get back to them.”
Trent Wharfage Ltd
- which owns Mistley Quay - has said the fence is necessary and stems
from advice given by the Health and Safety Executive under the requirements
of the Docks Regulations Act 1988.
the company recently met with campaigners - which included Mrs Worsley
- to discuss the fence and come up with a solution.
A spokesman said: “The
attendants accepted the need for a fence but objected to an industrial
fence on conservation grounds. Cllr Worsley suggested various designs
for cast iron fencing. The port explained why these alternative fencing
models failed to address safety objectives given the illustrated four
metre drop to hard ground at low tide and the heavy HGV/mechanical
trafficking of a warehouse circulation area.”