'We don't want a Berlin Wall in the Dedham Vale': The Essex wall dividing opinion

  • Watch a report ITV News Anglia's Charlie Frost

A metal barrier built this year as part of Manningtree Train Station's car park extension is proving more divisive than just separating the cars from the footpath.

Described as 'ugly' and an 'eyesore' by local residents, since work began on it, campaigners have continually questioned whether the development was legal.

Now, Tendring Disctrict Council says the planning service is reviewing whether the development had the necessary approvals in place at the time of its construction.

Chairman of the Dedham Vale Society Charles Clover says the correct planning permission wasn't given for the wall. Credit: ITV Anglia

The train station for those wanting to explore Flatford Mill and Dedham Vale, the area is described as 'the gateway to Constable country,' after ninteenth century Suffolk painter John Constable.

He made the landscapes famous and is one of the reasons why it is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The Dedham Vale attracts visitors from around the world and is famous for its beautiful walks. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Chairman of The Dedham Vale Society Charles Clover says this should of been considered when the wall was built.

He believes if permission was sought 'properly' and residents consulted, it would have been developed more in keeping with its rural surroundings.

Charles claims Tendring Council has now admitted the wall, which Greater Anglia built as part of an extension to create 226 more car parking spaces at Manningtree Station, went up without permission.

Greater Anglia said in a statement:

"We established through a pre-application inquiry with Tendring Council the proposed development of the car park extension fell within the scope of a permitted development.

"We did not therefore need to obtain full planning permission.

"We will continue to work with the council to ensure we meet all necessary planning requirements for any projects we undertake."

Greater Anglia says it did not need to get full planning permission to build the wall. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Tendring District Council has confirmed an investigation is underway after it discovered the works do need planning permission.

The statement continued, "Manningtree railway station is clearly an important element of the transport network with London and is vital to the economic prosperity of North Essex and South Suffolk, but it is also important the council ensures proper and full consideration is given to any development.

"Given that this investigation work is ongoing, and the review is live, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."

The wall was built when Greater Anglia extended the car park this year. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Campaigners hope the investigation will lead to the wall being brought down, or at least covered with foliage to help it fit with its surroundings.