Imperialist blather


Very interesting, and good luck with enforcing it. I assume that’s ‘UK Baits’ in Silver Court. This notice has appeared at Anglesey Basin, at the foot of Chasewater Dam.

It seems Brownhills Community Association, or someone within, its undertaking a little empire building of late. It’s all coming over a bit imperialist to me.

(I’m assuming here that although the posters say ‘Brownhills Community Centre’, this is Brownhills Community Association – the phone number is identical, and Brownhills Community Centre as such doesn’t exist, as far as I’m aware).

Cycling from Anglesey Basin at Chasewater today, down to Catshill Junction Bridge, I noticed these new signs on just about every bridge abutment. It seems that now, if you want to fish in the canal between Catshill Junction and Chasewater, you are expected to pay Brownhills Community Association £3 per day for the privilege, or £15 for a season ticket.

I’m not sure how far the range extends yet, but it clearly covers most, if not all of the Anglesey Branch Canal, and the Wyrley and Essington from Ogley Junction to Catshill Junction.


This sign is stuck so high on the toll-road bridge that’s it’s nearly impossible to read.

I’m not a fisherman, and I never have been, as I think is fairly well known, but this seems like a bit of an iniquitous land (or rather, water) grab to me.

Waters that were I believe, free to fish before, are so no longer. Why, what exactly gave Brownhills Community Association the right to do this? Where was the public consultation? On what grounds?

There may well be something, somewhere, I’ve missed. I’ve certainly not seen any public notices. Please feel free to correct me if I’m misunderstanding something.

This is hot on the heels of the news – still not acknowledged by Brownhills Community Association – that the Canoe and Outdoor Centre in Silver Street has lost it’s operator and appears to be closed. This is a facility apparently under the responsibility of the same Association. When I came past today, this great project, funded by Lottery money as well as European Grants, was closed. The equipment usually stored in the compound had gone.


This one is on Catshill Junction bridge.

I’m also aware that people associated with the Community Association have been involved in the scaremongering about the proposed heathland management on the common. I can’t actually repeat what I’ve been told here by various sources, but frankly, I’m amazed.

I’ve always liked and supported the things that Brownhills Community Association do, and happily publicise their events. Community, and the coming together of townsfolk for popular events and activities is a key factor, and should be welcomed, particularly with kid’s events. However, the silence over the Canoe Centre – a truly well-loved amenity, the sudden takeover of formerly free angling rights, and bizarre scaremongering over work on Brownhills common are leaving me with a very nasty taste indeed.

I’m feeling primarily that the Brownhills Community Association should sort out the issues with the canoe centre before it starts controlling other stuff. Does anyone know what’s actually going on here?

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18 Responses to Imperialist blather

  1. I’d be fascinated to learn what authority underpins such a charge. It may be wholly legit, can’t wait to find out though.

  2. Pedro says:

    Get your tickets from UK Bates. Who the hell is UK Bates, a Councillor or a Bailiff?

    But if you need any maggots then perhaps UK Baits may be the best place to go, probably owned by a councillor!

  3. Tim says:

    Bates……..1st name ‘Master’????

  4. Pedro says:

    Good job Barbara Grant found that copper fish before the Bailiff thing was set up! And poor old Rodney, its best he gets a season ticket!

  5. Rob says:

    There’s a contact number on the picture of the notice you’ve displayed.
    Have you thought of dialing it?

    Any person or group can apply to rent the angling rights to any stretch of canal under BWB’s jurisdiction.
    Fletcher’s Tackle that traded in Silver Court up until about ten years ago controlled the fishing along a similar stretch, bailiffed it, and ran contests that attracted people from as far away as Lancashire. They weren’t free to fish then, it’s not like cycling, where you can do what you like at no expense.
    The interest in the fishing declined as the number of canoes increased, which must be a coincidence, such that they decided it was no longer viable.

  6. Barry Carpenter says:

    British Waterways may have lissued a License for the Community Association to run the fishing rights along this section. I’d check with them to see if this is the case. As to a Bailiff patrolling the section, common practice to check day and season tickets and normally are volunters from a club or employed if the organisation is large enough. Not good the those who enjoyed the free fishing rights on this section in the past.

    • Cheers.
      I have no doubt this has been done legally by buying the rights – it would be an incredible act of hubris had it not been. It just seems an odd decision for a organisation not known for involvement with fishing; almost as if someone’s spotted a way of taxing the local fish-botherers to increase income.
      Had I fished here in the last few years with no charge except my rod license, I’d be a bit cheesed off to be tithed by the local community association for no return. At least clubs etc. provide some fringe benefits.

  7. Warrington Cuthbert smyth. says:

    Anyone who fishes regularly will know that most waters are highly likely to be subject to day ticket charges. The stretch in question has been subject to such charges since the canoe center was built and took on by the community association. It must have come as a package i would think.
    What i guess has happened is that the bait shop has offered to take on the management of the water and therefore collect the day ticket money. I would imagine that there is a financial benefit the to CA somewhere.

  8. tony Martin says:

    British Waterways was replaced last year by the Canal and River Trust, a non profit organisation.

  9. Pedro says:

    Very interesting point, the “about us” for the Trust can be seen here…

    “On top of maintaining 2,000 miles of canals and rivers that are often over 200 years-old, we are responsible for an enormous network of bridges, embankments, towpaths, aqueducts, docks and reservoirs alongside everything else that makes up our wonderful waterways. This takes a huge amount of effort behind the scenes.

    From improving towpaths for cyclists and walkers, encouraging biodiversity by installing bat boxes and insect piles to maintaining our locks, bridges and aqueducts, we are constantly working to make our canals and rivers the best they can be, but we can’t do it without your support.”

    For Angling…

    “Fishing is one of the best ways to experience Britain’s slow-flowing canals and rivers. Fishing rights to many stretches of our canal network belong to local fisheries or angling clubs. You can find their contact details using our ‘find a fishery’ search.”

    So please correct me if I am wrong, but by contributing to this great cause, I am contributing to the upkeep of the bridges and towpaths. While the the other charge for fishing will go to the Brownhills Community Association, UK Baits and an Angling Club?

  10. Barry Carpenter says:

    Actualy the price of £3 and £15 is cheap. Coppice Lane Hammerwich prices start from £6 to £35 per session, Blackfords who run the Turf Island pool, membership is £20 per rod per year plus £4 for the gate key,

    • Yes, but you’re talking commercial fisheries with good facilities and considerably better stock.

      My issue here is the rights – which have just been taken over by Brownhills Community Association (rather than being historically owned), according the to Canals and River Trust. The Association will not be stocking or providing any facilities. This is, in effect, a tax on local fishermen by the Community Association for no return.

      I’m aware folk have to pay various clubs and suchlike – but usually, they are Angling Clubs or shops with some other benefit.


  11. Barry Carpenter says:

    Know where you are coming from Bob, but fixed assets like fishing, today are seen as an income to what ever group contols the water. Cycles and kites are still fairlyt free, check out UAV on line at the mo? This is the next Gov. controled issue at the mo, the U.S. Is over the toping?

  12. Pingback: Brownhills Canoe Centre: Community Association reply | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

  13. sam styler says:

    Hi all anglers out there,ive never seen anyone collecting money on canal ,spoken to other fishermen and they say nobody pays ,i never fish the canal because of all the rubbish by tesco,and its not the fishermen doing it;local kid and people having dinner break .drink the pop and the bottle goes in the cut.if they clean the canal i would have go,But having to pay for days fishing in dump they must be joking.

  14. Edwina says:

    Well I for one am glad that someone has advertised responsibility for it, as I will now be able to phone them up to get someone to come and clean all the fishermens debris and junk that they leave behind them on a daily basis, endangering wildlife etc., along the way.

  15. Edwina. says:

    I have lived in Aldridge and Brownhills almost all of my life and I have never ever known fishing rights to be free either on the canal,or on the ponds around and about. When I was a young girl of 14 my friend and I got pulled in by a bailiff for canoeing on the canal in her brothers canoe.

    My brother used to fish along the canal and always had to buy a license insisted upon by my Dad, I believe he bought it from Brownhills High Street.

    So there you are lads … never ever has it been free, it was what was called a “rod license” and bailiffs have been active along that stretch for years.

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