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A proposal to turn Blagdon Lake into a fly fishing hub has been dropped

PUBLISHED: 13:00 09 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:14 09 December 2017

Blagdon Lake. Picture: James Griffiths

Blagdon Lake. Picture: James Griffiths

James Griffiths

Controversial plans to make Blagdon Lake a hub for fly fishing have been shelved due to protests from the angling community.

View of Blagdon Lake. View of Blagdon Lake.

Bristol Water was considering scaling back trout stocks and facilities at Chew Valley Lake and investing more in the venue at Blagdon.

Fishing groups were outraged at the proposals which they believed could end fly fishing at Chew Valley and affect businesses which rely on the angling community.

Bristol Water has now decided to drop its plans and maintain the same service at Chew Valley, while making minor improvements to Blagdon Lodge.

Steve Smith, Bristol Water’s lakeside services manager, said: “Bristol Water has a finite amount of money so we want to make sure we put our focus and funding on what customers want us to.

“Societal trends are changing and people are doing different things with their leisure time.

“We have been reviewing activities and one of the things we were considering was increasing fly fishing activities at Blagdon.

“We were looking to invest in it and make it a trout fly fishing hub. We were considering increasing capacity, with more boats, trout stocks and more car parking spaces.

“We weren’t looking to close Chew but we looked at scaling back at Chew to put more facilities in Blagdon which is a great venue for fly fishing.

After pressure from the Bristol Reservoirs Fly Fishers Association (BRFFA), the Angling Trust and prominent MPs, Bristol Water agreed to scrap the changes.

Mr Smith added: “We aren’t taking forward any changes. We are continuing the same service levels we had previously.

“We are still pressing on with making some improvements to Blagdon Lodge to make it more accessible.

“Blagdon will always be a good place to fish as will Chew Valley.”

A BRFFA spokesman said: “We think the declines in visitor numbers have in large part been due to Bristol Water losing sight of the need to provide what their customers want.

“We have spent 12 months or more trying to lead positive engagement with Bristol Water and to get them to focus on improving visitor numbers and revenues.”

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