On 17 September 2008, amid chaotic scenes of public protest, a 2-metre high, 130-metre long fence was erected across the historic public quay at Mistley, Essex. It is designed to block access to and from the River Stour and ends 500 years of free access to the water. Landowner Michael Parker of TWL has willfully disregarded the public's established rights to access the quay and the quayside, to moor boats here, swim, fish, and feed Mistley's famous swans.
Action group FREE THE QUAY aimed to have the fence legally removed and to preserve Mistley Quay for the continued enjoyment of all of the residents of Mistley. After a ten-day inquiry to examine evidence by local residents, registration of the quay as a Village Green by ECC, an unsuccessful appeal by TWL to the Court High Court, and a further unsuccessful appeal to the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court in 2021 confirmed the status of the Quay as a village green.
FREE THE QUAY is now actively working to have the fence removed from the quay.