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Post by Guest on Sat Dec 05, 2009 10:03 am

Bristol angler wins lake access struggle

A disabled angler from Staple Hill (Bristol) has won a battle against his fishing club to get electronic gates installed at the entrance to a lake.

Mike Coulson, 57, who is paraplegic, took action against Bathampton Angling Association because he says he found it difficult to access its fishery at Hunstrete, near Pensford, through locked gates.

Mr Coulson, who suffered a spinal injury in a road accident on the A38 at Redhill in 1972, has also been paid 2,000 by the club for "the effort, stress, injuries to feelings and aggravations caused".

He believes the electronic gates will make life easier for the association's 150 disabled members.

However, the association says it has spent tens of thousands of pounds improving its fishery for disabled people and has a reputation as "the foremost of clubs catering for disabled anglers".

Mr Coulson says it takes him up to 15 minutes each time he has to manoeuvre in and out of his vehicle to manually open and lock the gates.

He said: "Despite prolonged appeals to the association's committee, they were of the opinion that they had already made sufficient access provision.

"I find a widespread problem I experience is that quite a number of organisations and fishing clubs fail to grasp the wider ranging implications of the duty imposed by the disability legislation."

Terry Moseley, president of the British Disabled Angling Association, said: "This is a positive result for both Mr Coulson and Bathampton Angling Association, one from which all angling clubs, fisheries and associations can learn from. Mistakenly many angling clubs and associations still believe they are exempt from the disability laws, as it's an outdoor recreation or because they are a club."

A spokesman for Bathampton Angling Association said the club had agreed to install an electronic gate at the fishery within 12 months after a Disability Conciliation Service meeting between the two sides. The club said Mr Coulson had originally wanted 5,000 in compensation but was paid 2,000 as a goodwill gesture.

The spokesman said: "The association, in conjunction with the Environment Agency, has spent tens of thousands of pounds on improving the disabled facilities at Hunstrete because we care about disabled anglers."

The spokesman added: "A Disabled Access Audit this year concluded that the fishery 'is an excellent facility for anglers with disabilities and that the association had provided a great service to them'. BAA is run by anglers who spend thousands of hours every year voluntarily working on behalf of local anglers and Mr Coulson's complaint is the first and only complaint received in respect of disabled access."

Mike Coulson commented on the above article, in the Bristol Evening Post, thus:

Neither the word 'excellent
nor the phrase 'great service' appear in the access audit,

An Environment Agency officer reported having provided 21,000 in grants to Bathampton AA over 2006 & 2007 to facilitate wheelchair access.

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Post by allthegearnoidea on Sat Dec 05, 2009 10:19 am

Well done Mike hope that more disabled anglers feel it is there right to make a stand and complain if nessesary i know a lot of disabled people dont like to make a fuss and would rather not bring any unwanted attention to themselves or think its a waste of time trying to go against ourthoritys or those with power you can bet a lot of other disabled anglers did'nt like the access but dide'nt dare to speak up and thats why the lack of complaints not that there wer'nt any once again well done

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Post by Guest on Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:30 am

Well done Mike cheers

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