It is with great sadness that I have to report that on Friday 12th March 2021 I received a letter informing me that the Bradford Estate had , retrospectively, terminated our four year agreement for the tenancy of Tong Norton Mere from the 1st March 2021.
This lake has been part of the fishing club for the past 58 years from when my father and local friends were given the pool by the then Lord Bradford to start the fishing club.
The letter I received this March indicated that as we were a ‘not for profit’ organisation we would not be able to compete financially with the estates ‘new fishing partner’. The same fishing partner had taken the Park Pool from the club some years ago. The estate had already approached and agreed terms with their new fishing partner before the letter arrived and were not going to give us a chance to compete for the tenancy. So once again we have worked hard to produce a premier fishery, largely due to the hard working committee and you, the members. The waters have been kept in pristine condition over the years only to have it taken off us once again.
I had a meeting with the estate at Church Pool in early February and there was no indication of any change to any of our agreements.
As per usual, by 12th March 2021, we had already sold 150 memberships for this season. After many telephone calls, e mails, letters and meetings the estate and the new tenant finally agreed we could keep the Mere until the 30th November 2021. Our pleading to be allowed to keep it until March 2022 was denied. We have had to accept that we allow ground works and improvements to be done during this period of change over. This may involve shutting part of the pool while this is going on but the estate have said they will give us prior notice to this work taking place and have agreed a lower rent for this period to compensate for the inconvenience.
Apparently, the new tenant intends to remove all the fish from the Mere, after the 30th November, and replace them with his own stock and although we have put considerable amounts of fish in the water over the years, they remain the property of the Bradford Estate. The fish in Church Pool are the sole property of W.U.L.A.C and we are currently negotiating our usual four year agreement over this water. We still have Swan Pit and two stretches of the River Penk and are actively looking for other waters locally. If anyone hears or knows of any such waters available please contact myself or any committee member.
I am very pleased to inform the club that we have secured a long lease on a new 6 acre lake at West Farm, Underton near Bridgnorth. We will be stocking it in December/January and it will be available to fish from 1st March 2022.
I can only apologise to you, as members, about this situation and I am especially disappointed in the underhand manner in which this deal was done, especially as over the past 70 years my family and the Bridgeman family have always enjoyed a very close working relationship.
Honesty, fairness, integrity and loyalty are characteristics that distinguish who we are. I have served as your Chairman for 27 years and I am very proud of all we have achieved without compromising those characteristics, either personally, the committee or as a Club.
I will continue to work on your behalf to take the Club forward to a bright, secure future.
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