blue anchor angling
Anglers on the sea front at Blue Anchor as the tide comes in.

MP calls for sea front angling ban

MP Ian Liddell-Grainger has called for a ban on anglers fishing from Blue Anchor sea front because of the danger they pose to pedestrians.

He says fishermen are congregating in unacceptably large numbers, obstructing hundreds of yards of the pavement to the inconvenience of other users.

Now, he says Somerset West and Taunton Council should consider bringing in a byelaw banishing them to the beach.

Blue Anchor is one of the most popular angling spots in West Somerset partly because on spring tides it is possible to fish from the sea wall.

But, said Mr Liddell-Grainger, Conservative MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset, the number of anglers using the location was now creating a real hazard.

“They are often there hours before the tide arrives and set up their rods and all their other kit on the pavement,” he said.

“But that turns the footway into a real obstacle course for other users. It’s not very wide and the effect is to force people to detour into the road.

“It’s is not right that elderly people or families with young children in particular should have to put up with this inconvenience and potential danger.”

Mr Liddell-Grainger said he had received a number of complaints in person after visiting Blue Anchor at the week-end.

“Technically, since  the pavement is legally part of the highway, these fishermen are committing the offence of obstruction.

“If a local trader was to do the same with some A-boards advertising his business I have no doubt the council would be down on them like a ton of bricks.

“No-one wants to stop anglers fishing from Blue Anchor or anywhere else. But there is plenty of room for them on the beach west of the railway station – even though that might entail them having to carry their gear for a few yards rather than unloading it alongside their cars.

“At the moment they are acting illegally and selfishly with no regard at all to other people using the sea front.”

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