Tuesday, 18 July 2017
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 nearby residents, dog-walkers and birdwatchers.
The actions follow a two-day planning inquiry last November at Grimsby Town Hall where ABP successfully contested any initiative that might have authorised as a public right of way the long-established but unofficial footpath that runs through the site.
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.
"Although the sidings fell out of use by the late 1960s, the land has been used for operational activities associated with the port.
"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."