BOAT owners are being evicted off a quayside used by Harwich sailors for generations.

The Harwich Small Boat Owners Association has been given weeks to vacate Gas House Creek where it has a clubhouse and where members keep their boats both in and out of the water.

But sailors say they have been using the site for decades and have nowhere else in the town to go.

Ian Wooding, secretary of the Harwich Small Boat Owners Association, said: “We are just a small community with fishing boats and pleasure boats.

“Some are in the water and some are out of the water.

“I personally have been using the area for 40 years.

“People have been using it for generations - fathers and grandfathers before them.

“This is the only free mooring on the whole of the east coast of England - they haven’t offered us an alternative.

“We are a small organisation, most of us are retired, we don’t have the vast sums of money other people with boats do.

“We are all really angry, we have been there so long.

“It’s absolutely appalling “ He added: “Hutchison Ports say it’s about health and safety, they want to fence it off and assess the situation.

“They are going to do nothing else with the land at all apart from fence it off.

“This is going to be a battle - we will barricade ourselves in.“We don’t want this fight to get to the stage they had at Mistley Quay.”

A letter sent to the association from Hutchison Ports, which owns the land, says they have until midday on May 12 to leave - anything left will be “considered abandoned”, removed and unclaimed items sold.

It said: “In recent years the port has tolerated the informal use of the quay and quayside area known as Gas House Creek for the storage of boats and equipment, and some mooring on the quay itself.

“The port has become increasingly concerned about the safety and environmental integrity of the area so has taken the decision to clear the site and make it safe.”

A spokesman for Hutchison Port said talks are ongoing about the “unauthorised use of land at Gas House Creek”.

He said: “As land owners we have an obligation to manage the land in a safe and appropriate manner and are taking steps to do that.”