THOUSANDS of campaigners have signed a petition urging council bosses to push for a fence to be removed from a village green.

A fence was put up around Mistley Quay, which is designated as a village green, in 2008 in response to concerns raised by the Health and Safety Executive.

But it also has meant villagers have been stopped from crabbing, fishing, or mooring boats beside it – pastimes enjoyed there for “many centuries” prior.

An application to the county council from the campaign group Free the Quay saw the concrete waterfront registered as a village green in 2015.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Village green - the fence around Mistley QuayVillage green - the fence around Mistley Quay (Image: PR)

In 2021, the Supreme Court ruled the quayside should keep its village green status after an appeal from logistics company Trent Wharfage Logistics, which owns the quay.

The company says the fence must remain otherwise someone could be hurt.

READ MORE: Villagers plead for Essex County Council to step in over 'eyesore' barrier in Mistley

The issue has now been raised with Essex County Council which heard arguments from Free the Quay, which objects to the nature of the fencing, and says the existing barrier is unsafe.

Campaign group chairman David McKay argued the issue is not an enforcement issue but one of “discussion and negotiation” – adding the people of Mistley will pay for a safe and appropriate replacement fence.

He told councillors the group has gathered about 2,500 signatures “imploring Essex County Council to comply with the Supreme Court’s admonitions”.

Carlo Guglielmi, the county councillor for the area, presented the petition calling for Essex County Council, the Health and Safety Executive, and Trent Wharfage Logistics to work to find the best way forward to “address safety concerns and re-establish historical access to the shore from the water”.

He said: “This council in 2014 granted village green status in recognition of the many recreational activities that generations have undertaken on the quay for many centuries.”

The council’s economic growth boss, Lee Scott, said the authority does not have any enforcement powers.

He said: “This is entirely about enforcement. The quay is a village green and the fence means residents are unable to exercise their rights over some parts of the quay.

“Essex County Council’s only statutory role in this is as the common registration authority.”

Trent Wharfage Logistics has been asked for comment.