Gold Valley Lakes boss' damning verdict on fisheries

“Far too many fisheries are negligent in their maintenance and repairs, and are accidents just waiting to happen.”

That’s the damning verdict of John Raison, boss of Hants complex Gold Valley Lakes, who claims venues across the country are in a ‘state of disrepair’.

The blunt appraisal comes just a week after we revealed how the owner of day-ticket fishery in Cambridgeshire was ordered to pay £4,000 to an angler who claimed to have broken his ankle after slipping on a platform.

According to John, more venues will soon fall foul to the UK’s ‘compensation culture’ unless they take swift action.

“Many fisheries are negligent,” said John.

“I could take you to loads that are in a complete mess, with rotten wooden platforms everywhere and other problems that need addressing. Several years ago we replaced all of our wooden platforms with non-slip concrete ones – at great cost. You simply have to do these things.”

According to John, owners also need to make sure that they have plenty of disclaimers in place on site, or face the consequences.

“We have signs which say ‘To pass this point, you have to be a member’, meaning you can’t get on to our land without passing the sign. Fishery owners have to safeguard their livelihoods and cover their backs,” he added.

John’s warning was given extra relevance when the secretary of a club in the Colne Valley contacted AT to tell us how his organisation had paid out insurance claims twice in three years.

The man, who wished to be known only as Chris, said, “We’ve been hit not by anglers, but by members of the public. One claim came from someone who entered the fishery and sprained their ankle, while the other was from a bloke who stepped on to a wooden platform to look at birds and went through it. What amazed me both times is how quickly the insurance companies capitulated. It was alarming, and a sign of the society we live in,” he added.