Protest group Free the Quay is launching a legal bid to restore access to Mistley Quay on the River Stour, on the second anniversary of the erection of a controversial fence at the quayside.
FTQ is applying for the quay, to which the public have enjoyed free access for hundreds of years, to become a village green under the 2006 Commons Act.
On Friday 17 September FTQ published an open letter to quay owners TWL Logistics, asking it to join in the application and to take the fence down, saying FTQ would pay for a suitable alternative barrier if necessary.
Mistley resident Ian Tucker made the application to Essex County Council on behalf of local residents on 18 August 2010.
FTQ’s chairman Simon Bullimore said: ‘Thanks to the overwhelming generosity and support of local people over the past two years, FTQ has been able to obtain the best legal advice on the several legal courses open to us. Registration as a village green will give the quickest and least costly result; we are confident that we will succeed.’
Essex County Council has indicated that an inquiry into the application would be
fast-tracked if Free the Quay paid the costs of the inquiry.
FTQ treasurer William Meston said: ‘Mistley is a unique village with a strong maritime heritage, which only exists because of the quay, and it’s only right this should be recognised. We are confident that we have sufficient pledges of financial support to meet the costs of any inquiry.’
On Saturday 18 September at 10am, local families will gather at Mistley Quay to mark the occasion by demonstrating their legal use of the quay for leisure pastimes.
In 2007 TWL caused alarm by removing safety ladders and life buoys at the quayside. Despite the regular and established use of the quay by the local community and leisure craft, and in the face of widespread protest from locals and sailors, on 17 September 2008 TWL erected a 2m-high barrier entirely blocking access to and from the river.