PORT giants ABP have tightened their ownership grip on an area of waterfront land on the boundary of Cleethorpes and Grimsby.
Fencing has been made secure to bar access to the New Clee Sidings - a site long popular with birdwatchers because its attracts uncommon migrants including shrikes, chats and various warblers.
|A red-backed shrike similar to this bird spent a view days in September 2015 on the site (Photo: Pierre Dalous via Wikimedia Commons)|
The company's barrister, Andrew Fraser-Urquhart QC, successfully argued that any right-of-way legislation was nullified by Section 57 of the British Transport Commission Act which rules that such rights do not apply on dock or harbour land.
In his opening statement, he said: "ABP is the successor body to the British Transport Commission.
"In 1949, the port land was in active use as premises within the Port of Grimsby as railway sidings from where coal was brought to the quayside for loading into ships.
"The site has remained as operational port land ever since and remains so today.
"It is of no consequence that the land is currently vacant. Areas of land which are not in full-scale use and have no development upon them constitute operational land."
The inquiry was conducted on behalf of the planning Inspectorate by Martin Elliott who also carried out two site visits.
Finding in favour of ABP, against the claims of nearby residents, dog- walkers and birdwatchers, he ruled: "In 1949, New Clee Sidings were clearly an integral part of the dock in that the site provided essential facilities for the operation of the port.
|Bluethroat - a scarce migrant that has occasionally occurred in the scrubland. This is the bird that spent several weeks at the Willow Tree Fen nature reserve, near Spalding, earlier thi year.|
"Whilst parts of the land do not now appear to be actively used by ABP, the site is essential for future development needs of the port and is used for a variety of purposes, albeit, in my view, fairly low-key and remains part of the dock and harbour premises.
"As submitted by ABP, Section 57 of the 1949 act makes it clear that rights cannot be
acquired over any property now or hereafter forming any dock or harbour premises of the Commission.
"ABP is the successor body to the British Transport Commission.
"The protection of the port against the creation of a public right of way continues from the passing of the Act and cannot be lost.
"The 1949 Act does not require that the land is operational - only that the land forms a dock or harbour premises of the Commission.
"The land forms part of the docks and harbour premises, and section 57 provides a statutory bar to the dedication of public rights by user.
"The way is therefore not of a character that use could give rise to dedication at common law."
* On the plus side, reduced disturbance by the public, including dog-walkers, has made the site more amenable to birds, including wintering parties of snow buntings which can sometimes be viewed through the palisade fencing. Certain rarities, such as shrikes, may also remain visible, albeit from afar.