A NORTHWICH fishing club has raised a £30,000 ‘fighting fund’ to take a housing developer to court.

Members of Northwich Anglers Association were devastated when Brook View developer, Russell Homes, blocked the entrance to a car park they’ve used to access their own lake, Eyres Pit, for more than 30 years.

The club had a long-standing arrangement with the New Warrington Road car park’s previous owner, as it’s a much-needed resource for fishermen who are older, disabled, or have limited mobility.

On March 13, club members arrived at the site to find access to the car park blocked with large concrete blocks and portable metal fencing, after a notice had been posted just three days before.

Northwich Guardian: The car park provides excellent access to the lake, which is used by anglers with limited mobilityThe car park provides excellent access to the lake, which is used by anglers with limited mobility (Image: Northwich Anglers Association)

The club sought legal advice from JMW Solicitors in Manchester, believing they may have a case in law for retaining use of the site as they have used it for a very long time.

At a committee meeting on Wednesday, May 10, senior club members agreed a legal fund of £30,000, taken from the sale of its previous headquarters on Station Road, Northwich.

Vice-chairman or Northwich Anglers Association, Graham Shillito, said: “We’ve got two choices. We either go down the legal route, or we just roll over and take it. We’re going down the legal route.

“As we’ve occupied the land for a certain amount of time, we may have certain rights.

“Our club’s solicitor said we need a barrister on it. The brief’s going to a chambers in Manchester.

“The committee agreed a fighting fund of £30,000, which is a huge amount of money for us, but we need the car park that much. We’ve got to do as much as we can do.

“We’ve bought the lake in 2002, but we’ve leased it since 1954.

“We think public opinion is on our side. We’re asking everyone who’s behind us to sign our petition. We’ll be outside Northwich Radio next Saturday (May 20).”

Russell Homes says the land the car park stands on is designated 'public open space' in the plans submitted the Cheshire West and Chester Council.

They have already begun to cover the car park with earth from elsewhere on the development site.

A spokesman for Russell Homes said: “We understand Northwich Anglers Association is disappointed they will no longer be able to use an area of our site which they have previously used for car parking. 

"The planning permission which was approved in August 2021 designates this area as Public Open Space and work on that is currently under way. 

“The retention of the existing car park was not possible due to highways constraints and the risks of having two separate access points onto New Warrington Road. 

“In mitigation, we have created three parking bays on the access road to the development which we have allocated for the exclusive use of Northwich Angling Club members, for which signage will be installed.”