Walton-on-the-Naze Residents Furious New Fences Block Footpath

On 13 December 2012 Clacton and Frinton Gazette ran a story about a fence which had been put up in North Street which has infuriated residents,  in particular Rosemary Palmer, Susan Merry and Mary Cook.

In fact 2 fences have been put up, blocking a footpath next to Walton Mere from Orlando Court to North Street.  I have used this walk many times.  At the beginning of November there was a public inquiry into the application to make the strip of grass next to Mill Lane a village green.  At this inquiry people stated under oath they had walked along this path.  Perhaps this was what prompted putting up the fence.

It’s quite a big  industrial type fence, not at all in suitable for a residential area.

fenceFromNortStreet4

Worse a number of trees were cut down which North Street residents claim were planted with council money.

Worse still the residents say the fence has been put up east of a former fence which marked the boundary.  This former fence has been removed. Thus the new fence has been erected on council land. And it is claimed some of the trees and bushes which have been cut down were on council land.

Here are some photographs Mary Cook took in years gone by.

The earlier fence was much smaller, less conspicuous and more in keeping with the neighbourhood.

viewFromMaryCooksGardenHere Mary has marked the posts of the former fence.

viewFromMaryCooksFirstFloorAnother view of the old fence posts.

viewOldFencePosts

anotherViewOldFence

Mary has written an open letter to Ian Davidson, chief executive of TDC. She has even pinned a copy to her fence.

openLetter

You can download and read Mary Cook’s letter to TDC  and enclosed photographs, as well as some maps (which I haven’t shown here).

Even if the new fence correctly marks the boundary it is clear that trees and bushes have been cleared several feet beyond the boundary the fence purports to mark.

Apparently Tendring District Council have agreed to this.  Why would they do such a thing?

fenceFromNorthStreet

fenceFromNortStreet3

Here is the view from Mill Lane where both fences can be seen.

Access to the flood gates has been blocked.  I wonder if Environment Agency are happy about this.

I wonder if they were told the fence was going to be put up or asked if they had any objections?

 

fencesBlockInFloodGate

Looking south from the southern fence there is a clear trail showing the footpath has been regularly used.

 

footpathSouthToOrlandoCourt

And the trail continues to the fence

fenceFromOrlandoCourt2and beyond

fencedOffFootPathSouthernEnd
and it continues to the fence at North Street, although the ground is a bit churned up by the machinery used to cut down the trees and bushes.

fencedOffFootpathFromNorthStreet

There is a footpath, footpath48, which runs from North Street along the sea wall to the foundry.  This footpath was only confirmed in 2010.

publicFootpath

When Frinton and Walton Town Council made the application in 2005 the application was for a footpath from Mill Lane past North Street and on to the foundry.

The council amended their application after receiving objections.  What I can’t understand is the objections were from people in Saville Street, not in Orlando Court.

So as far as I can make out the footpath was allowed were people have objected yet not were nobody had objected.

You can read the documents I have relating to footpath 48

And the inspectors report of the Mill Lane Village Green Inquiry

Walton Community Preservation Group & Friends

Spurred on by the erection of these fences Rose Palmer has started a group she calls

Walton Community Preservation Group & Friends

You can contact Rose at 01255 677803.

 What’s Behind The Activity At Walton Mere

There used to be a boating lake at Walton Mere run by a man called Ted Carter who died in 2004.  The land was subsequently bought by the Titchmarsh family via the company Silverbrook Estates Ltd.  On the 8  August 2009 the gazette ran a story

Plan to give boating lake new lease of life

According to this article the plan was

“We would like to see it as a safe sailing centre for people before they go out to sea,
for the yacht club and marina”

Subsequently there was a plan to fill the mere in and build a supermarket.

Now Tesco’s have been given the go ahead to build a store on the site of the Martello Caravan Park, the supermarket plan seems to have been dropped.  I don’t know what the latest plan is but I have heard talk of a hotel.

Natural England

Natural England is a partner agency of DEFA, like Environment Agency.  They describe what they do on their website as

Natural England is the government’s advisor on the natural environment. We provide practical advice, grounded in science, on how best to safeguard England’s natural wealth for the benefit of everyone.

Our remit is to ensure sustainable stewardship of the land and sea so that people and nature can thrive. It is our responsibility to see that England’s rich natural environment can adapt and survive intact for future generations to enjoy.

One key concern for Natural England is salt marsh.  Much of UK’s salt marsh is in East Anglia, Hamford Water being a prime example.  According to Natural England salt marsh:

It’s a vital habitat for migrating birds, with plants such as saltmarsh grass offering grazing for wintering birds like brent geese and wigeon, while the seeds of sea purslane, sea blight and samphire, provide food for flocks of teal, twite and linnet.

So you would expect Natural England to have quite a lot to say about any development of the mere, especially filling it in or flooding it.

A Chance Phone Call With Natural England

I was at Rose Palmer’s house one day in December 2012, the phone rang and Rose asked me to take the call.

The call was from Sally Painton of Natural England.  TDC had asked Natural England to comment on the planning application to develop the mere.  Sally was ringing to say

Natural England responded to TDC saying
they didn’t have enough information to comment. But they never heard from TDC again.

This raises the possibility Natural England may say the mere should not be developed at all, in order to protect salt marsh, migrating birds and wild life in general.

Of course Natural England may not say this, but until TDC supply them with sufficient information to comment we will not know.

This call struck a chord with me as a similar thing happened in 2011, when Kirby-le-Soken residents were very concerned about Environment Agency plans to knock a hole in the sea wall near Quay Lane.  Someone from Tendring Ramblers left a comment something like

I’ve been trying to leave a comment for 3 days but your website is down.

And this was taken as a comment in support of EA’s application!

What Can You Do?

If you are concerned about the development of Walton Mere, the blocking off of the footpath, or would just like to learn more – contact Rose Palmer 01255 677803

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