Norwich anglers left reeling by River Wensum punting plan
A plan to introduce chauffeured punts on the River Wensum has made waves with anglers, who fear the base for the business will cause the loss of a prime fishing spot.
The Canterbury Punting Company hopes to secure planning permission from Norwich City Council for a floating pontoon and ticket office close to the Norwich Playhouse.
The company, which already runs punts on the River Stour in Canterbury and on the university waterways in Cambridge, wants to introduce trips on the Wensum.
But anglers have lodged objections to the pontoon proposal, saying it would mean the loss of a long-standing and popular fishing spot.
Mike Hoyland, chairman of Norwich Union Angling Club, is among keen anglers who have lodged objections.
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In his objection, Mr Hoyland said: 'The small ledge featured in the application, with handy willow cover, has been a popular site for anglers of all ages for many years.
'Many city youngsters use such vantage points since they are free, available and do not involve their having to travel far from home to get there.
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'Indeed many experience anglers have also enjoyed the fishing to be had from that spot.'
He said, although he supported making the river more available to tourism, it would be better if alternative sites or compromises could be made to ensure no fishing opportunities were lost, such as shifting the proposed pontoon a little way downstream.
The Broads Angling Strategy group has also objected to 'a further loss of valuable angling access'.
However, officers are recommending that members of the city council planning committee give the scheme the go-ahead when they meet tomorrow.
In the report which will come before councillors, officers state that they do not consider the pontoon will unduly impact on fishing, with the lower bank still accessible.
They add: 'The applicant has confirmed that they are prepared to offer anglers access to the pontoon, provided that it does not impede upon staff, customers and the safe operation of punting tours.'