A row has broken out between Hereford’s anglers and a community group over planned new infrastructure beside the river Wye in the city.

Hereford and District Angling Association (HDAA), which has over a thousand members, says the proposed new concrete boat ramp and steps, in front of Hereford Sea Cadets’ base 200 yards west of the Greyfriars Bridge, needs its permission.

The proposal, which would also involve stationing two new boat cranes on the river bank, has been put forward for planning permission by Vaga Marine Services (VMS), made up of the cadets, the city’s rowing and rugby clubs, and the Leftbank Village development.


According to a letter submitted its behalf by solicitors at Fish Legal, the angling association, which is over a hundred years old, “owns the river bed and thereby the fishing rights along extensive parts of the river Wye, including the bed at the proposed development site”.

The planned ramp would therefore intrude on HDAA property, Fish Legal said, adding: “Unauthorised piling, driven into the river-bed, will be a trespass to land and would be rigorously pursued by our member.”

Adding to this, VMS only notified the HDAA of its plan on the day the planning application was submitted, the solicitors said. And lately its officers “have sought to question our members’ rights to fish at this location”.


The association also objected to the lack of a survey to establish whether the works would harm the Wye’s habitats and behaviour. “Our members are not experts, but they know the river well and how it behaves,” Fish Legal wrote.

“They advise us that the current proposed orientation of the steps is likely to result in rapid and considerable bank erosion,” contrary to the conservation goals for the river, they added.

Government agency Natural England also noted the lack of an accompanying habitats regulations assessment, which it said would be “required” given the river’s protected status.

What are your thoughts?

You can send a letter to the editor to have your say by clicking here.

Letters should not exceed 250 words and local issues take precedence.

The application has so far drawn 42 public letters of support and 28 objections.

Roger Cleary wrote that the planned launch ramp would be “adjacent to the rowing club who already have a large concrete slab for launching”, adding: “Why can’t they share?”

But Ben Turner said the ramp “would provide safer, easier access to the river, and would hopefully lead to more people joining the cadets and experiencing a disciplined youth organisation”.

Comments on the application via the Herefordshire Council planning webpage close tomorrow (April 17).

This article was amended on April 18 to make clear that VMS, and not the Sea Cadets, is the planning applicant.