Fence cuts off public

A two-metre high steel mesh fence has been erected along the 130-metre length of Mistley Quay, in Essex, effectively ending 500 years of public mooring at the historic quay.

Landowner Michael Parker of Trent Wharfage Ltd insists the fence is necessary for health and safety reasons.

There has been no barrier along the working quay, which is open to the public for access to their homes and for recreation, and no accidents have been known in living memory, anti-fence campaigners say.

The Health And Safety Executive has already told the landowner, and recently-formed action group Free the Quay, that it neither requires or desires a fence of this style, height and in this position.

A lower, less industrial looking barrier set back from the quay so that boats could moor, as seen at quaysides from Docklands to Liverpool, would satisfy the HSE and protestors.

The first panels went up three weeks ago, but the fence was finally completed yesterday despite the protests of hundreds of people. Police supervising the erection of the fence yesterday had to threaten the crowds with arrest for aggravated trespass.

‘The fence is effectively industrial vandalism of the most vindictive sort, and shows Michael Parker’s total contempt for the people of Mistley and generations of quay users, who have swum, fished and fed the swans from here,’ said a spokeswoman for Free the Quay.

‘If allowed to remain, the fence would effectively allow Mr Parker to claim private mooring rights the full length of the quay, something it is thought would make his land far more valuable to a potential developer,’ she added.

No-one from Trent Wharfage was available to comment when YM called.