Resident’s fear of ‘fowl’ play over Ely slipway borne out

How the enclosed slipway at Ely could look

How the enclosed slipway at Ely could look - Credit: Archant

A BID to bar ducks and geese from using a slipway in Ely has hit a snag after council officials discovered the area is a public highway which cannot be blocked.

How the enclosed slipway at Ely could look

How the enclosed slipway at Ely could look - Credit: Archant

East Cambridgeshire District Council announced in January they hoped to stop the birds coming onto land by erecting metal fencing around the slipway that leads onto the River Great Ouse.

The announcement followed years of complaints from residents about the amount of bird mess and increasing numbers of birds coming off the water and on to the pavement.

The council says the pavements are cleaned three times a week, and sometimes more, in a bid to keep on top of the problem.

Waterside resident George Peacock, owner of the nearby tearooms, questioned whether the slipway could be fenced off but council officers assured him they had been in contact with the highways department at Cambridgeshire County Council and found no problem.


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Six months later however, and the council has been forced to abandon the plan after subsequent investigation found that the slipway was, in fact, a highway and had a public right of way.

Liz Knox, head of environmental services, said: “We can confirm East Cambridgeshire District Council owns the slipway onto the river; however the county council has recently confirmed this area is a highway.

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“With confirmation that the slipway is a highway it means the idea to control wildfowl by installing a gate in the area cannot be progressed.”

Ms Knox added: “We are looking into alternative options to ensure this area of the city can be enjoyed by everyone.”

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