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New access scheme launched to get more anglers fishing on the River Thames in Reading

15.06.17

Thames Reading launch x550px

With nearly three miles of river bank under the control of the local council in Reading, the town has one of the largest sections of free fishing available on the middle reaches of the River Thames. However, various parking restrictions have made it difficult for anglers to access the river in recent years but it is hoped that a new Thames Angling Parking Scheme will see anglers returning to the Thames when the new river fishing season starts.

The access scheme, which was developed in conjunction with the former councillor and Reading West MP Martin Salter in his new role as Head of Campaigns for the Angling Trust - the national body for recreational fishing - will allow holders of an Environment Agency rod licence to apply for a restricted number of Thames Angling Parking Permits.

They will enable anglers displaying the special window sticker to park in a number of designated spots at Rivermead, Hills Meadow and Kings Meadow in order to access the river for fishing purposes only.

The permits cost £5 - half price for Angling Trust members and Your Reading Passport Holders - and go on sale this week from Thames Valley Angling at 258 Kentwood Hill, Tilehurst, Reading.
    
Angling Trust Campaigns Chief Martin Salter said: “Right across the country, councils have introduced systems to deter long term parking near parks and leisure centres for perfectly understandable reasons. I know from my own time as a public representative in the town the problems caused by people using these sites as unofficial park and ride spaces when looking to commute. However, the public stretches of the River Thames in Reading - from Scours Lane in the West to Kennetmouth in the East - is the best open air leisure centre anyone could wish for and our new scheme will hopefully see more local anglers back on the river.”
   
Riverfest organiser and Angling Trust Ambassador Dave Harrell said: “This is a really marvellous scheme and will definitely provide a shot in the arm for river fishing. It would be great if the Angling Trust could persuade other councils to follow Reading's lead and help more people access their local river fishing, particularly on the Severn, Avon and Trent which all have some fabulous and under used town centre stretches.”

Alan Clark, owner of Thames Valley Angling in Tilehurst, said: “We have an angling goldmine right on our doorstep here in Reading. Last season those sections of the river where anglers could access absolutely fished their socks off. Competitions were regularly won with good nets of roach and when the bigger bream went on the feed catches of 60lbs plus were recorded. It’s great that the Angling Trust has been able to broker these new arrangements with the council and I’m hoping that it will result in more youngsters taking up fishing now that their parents can take them somewhere where they can fish for free.”
    
Reading’s new Lead Councillor for Culture, Sport and Consumer Services, Sarah Hacker,  welcomed the scheme saying: “We are so lucky to have this fantastic section of the River Thames running right through the heart of our town and I’m really pleased that the council and the Angling Trust have worked together to get more people fishing on the river. Parking and access are always difficult issues to resolve, particularly for something like angling which is not a short session activity. I’m looking forward to seeing more smiling faces and bent rods on the banks of the Thames in Reading.”

The Angling Trust is hoping to use the Reading scheme as a model for other councils to follow.

The Thames Angling Parking Permits go on sale from Monday, June 19th and cover three sections of the river in Reading:

  1. Scours Lane to Caversham Bridge (incl. Thames Promenade) - parking at Rivermead
  2. Christchurch and Hills Meadows - parking on gravel area of Hills Meadow (12 cars max.)
  3. Kings Meadow to Kennetmouth - parking via key holder at Kings Meadow Park (12 cars max.
Permits cost £5 - half-price for Angling Trust members - and are available from Thames Valley Angling at 258 Kentwood Hill, Tilehurst, Reading.

Contact: Angling Trust Eastwood House, 6 Rainbow Street, Leominster, Herefordshire HR6 8DQ
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