PORINGLAND LAKES

The Green Heart of Poringland

AGM SPECIAL REPORT

2017 AGM Report

Early morning snow and tricky driving conditions didn’t deter a good turnout at the Association’s annual general meeting held at Poringland Community Centre.

Welcoming guests, president and founder member Dave Gudgeon outlined his involvement with the site and praised the trustees and volunteers for their continued support to conservation at the heart of the village.

Achievements Highlighted

It was a theme continued by chairman John Overton.  Highlighting many of the Association’s achievements in 2016, he singled out the extensive tree planting programme, school nature visits and the tremendous success of the Family Fishing Fun days.

A recent meeting with the Police has resulted in improved liaison and will see warning notices placed at the lakes entrance warning of anti-social behaviour, restricting access to daylight hours and prohibiting littering.  Police patrols will also be stepped up, an initiative that is certain to please local residents and lakes officials alike.

Concluding his report, John announced the recent award of £2,685 from Sports Council Small Grants in support of the Association’s Development Plan and delivery of Family Fishing and Kingfisher Club events.  

2017 Plans Unveiled

The secretary outlined the Association’s ambitious plans for 2017 including restoration of the two conservation ponds, building a new toad and frog breeding pond, installing additional owl and bat boxes (kindly funded by neighbours), and completing the outfall from Mill Close development which would provide a sustainable water source. 

Other plans include installing additional fishing platforms, primarily in Noble lake, exploring permanent aeration, extending educational opportunities with local schools, youth groups etc, support for the Angling Trust Voluntary Bailiff Scheme.

No Changes in Fees  

Treasurer George Shearer presented the Association’s accounts and reported another good year.

In view of the Association’s sound finances, the cost of season and day tickets will remain unaltered at £50 and £5 respectively.

Kingfisher Launch 

Highlight of a busy morning was undoubtedly the official launch of the Kingfisher Club (see Kingfisher Club page for more details).  Head coach Mark Casto gave a very professional presentation augmented by an equally impressive Powerpoint presentation which ended with the prominent message “2017 Promises to be an Exciting Year.” 

Rule Changes Well Received 

What was expected to be a controversial issue turned into something of a damp squid.  Members had asked for the ban of surface fishing, imposed by the Trustees during the season, to be debated but on the day there appeared little resistance to the change, indeed there was positive support for the new rule. 

The suggestion to stock with lakes with barbel and chub was also well received, so will be debated by the Trustees at their next meeting. 

Lively Questions 

The meeting concluded with a lively question and answer session in the form of an open forum.  Among the issues discussed were aeration, tourism signs, season ticket waiting lists, insurance and health and safety issues. 

In reply to a suggestion that a strategically placed tourism sign be placed on the main street, the chairman explained that the Trustees had considered this previously and outlined the problems of increasing traffic in Hillside and ownership issues regarding road maintenance.

Ambitious Tree Planting Programme Unveiled at 2016 AGM 

The PCFLA annual general meeting held at Poringland Community Centre on Sunday was well attended with over 30 guests and supporters in attendance. 

Newly elected chairman, John Overton, was delighted with the turn out which was considerably up on previous years. 

“It just shows the amount of interest there is” enthused John. 

Poringland tree warden Henry Gowman (pictured) opened the meeting by unveiling an ambitious tree planting programme at the lakes. 


“The conservation area is large, so I think it best that we tackle it in sections over a few winter planting seasons” explained Henry.  “I suggest we start by planting the steep  bank between the lakes and Mill Close development with over 80 flowering and fruiting trees such as hazel, hawthorn, blackthorn, guelder rose, spindle, wild rose and wild plum” said Henry. 

“These are all native species which will not only screen the development but will provide valuable habitat for insects and birds” he added.  “It’s intended to plant the trees and shrubs in a series of mixed species copses at different heights across the south facing slope. 

“However planting 80 plus trees on that slope will take some physical effort and will mean a lot of work for volunteers” warned Henry. 

It is expected South Norfolk Council will assist in financing and procuring the tree and that planting will start within the next fortnight. 

Sustainable Water Source Secured 

The likelihood of the lakes ever drying out again has been significantly reduced following an agreement with local developers. 

Following the dramatic loss of water a couple of years ago, the Association has secured an agreement with Wright Builders to take the run-off rainwater from the roofs of the neighbouring Mill Close development. 

Fears that the water may be contaminated and damage fish and wildlife were allayed by lakes president Dave Gudgeon. 

“We have signed a legal agreement which requires the developers to incorporate a filtration system into the drainage design” assured Dave. 

Treasurer Reports a Record Year 

Despite record levels of expenditure this year, Association treasurer Dr George Shearer reported that the lakes finances are in a healthy state. 

Significant expenditure on items such as the secure storage unit, tools and equipment, water sustainability and promotion had been primarily funded by grants totalling over £12,000 compliments of the Norse Group, Saffron Housing and South Norfolk Council. 

Annual revenue expenditure, including insurances and general admin costs had increased significantly but these had been more than offset by season and day tickets, donations and continued commercial support. 

“We have enjoyed our most successful financial year ever” said a delighted treasurer.  “As a result we are pleased to announce that there will be no increases in season and day ticket charges this year which will remain at £50 and £5 respectively.” 

Season Tickets Extended 

Now that anglers can access all the lakes’ perimeters, it was unanimously agreed to increase the number of season tickets holders from 33 to 40. 

Fishery manager Ray Noble was confident that increased membership would not impact on the quiet enjoyment of anglers or be detrimental to the fish. 

 “We can confidently accommodate a few more season tickets without the lakes becoming crowded” reassured Ray. 

Predation, Conservation, Recruitment and Stocking 

Neil Edwards, who is studying for a degree in fishery management and sustainable aquaculture, gave two interesting presentations – balancing conservation with predation and recruitment and stocking. 

He explained the damage that otters and mink can cause to fisheries and what fishery managers can do to reduce predation.  Neil also stressed the importance of good water quality and the danger of overstocking. 

“While the lakes are regularly monitored for ammonia and oxygen levels, fish management must continue to be given high priority” said Neil.  “At sometime in the future we will need to net the lakes to take out the smaller fish and relocate them” he added. 

However conservationist warned against drag netting, pointing out that netting should be the last option as this would mean disturbing plant and water life on the lake bed. 

Family Fishing Days Plans ‘Well Advanced’ 

Plans are well advanced to hold four Family Fishing Days at Poringland Lakes. 

Head bailiff Ray Noble confirmed that four taster sessions will be held on successive Saturdays, 26 March, 2 April, 9 April and 16 April.  All sessions will be held between 10am and 12.30pm. 

“Although aimed primarily at youngsters wishing to take up the sport, everyone is welcome, either trying fishing for the first time or returning after a break” explained Ray.  “However all children must be accompanied throughout by a parent or guardian. 

The exciting initiative has already attracted some wide spread publicity including an article in the Eastern Evening News and a live broadcast by Radio Norfolk direct from the lakes.  It is also hoped Mustard TV will cover one of the earlier sessions. 

Local schools and youth groups, including the Scouts, will be targeted ahead of the events.  

Capping It All 

Poringland Lakes anglers promise to be some of the best turned out in the region. 

After some locals purchased their own caps complete with ‘Poringland Lakes’ insignia, earning admiring glances from their fellow piscatorials, newly appointed trustee Andy Dewar suggested extending the scheme to provide fleeces and t-shirts as well as the popular caps. 

Watch this space for more news coming soon.  In the meantime it was confirmed that arrangements are in hand to commission a professionally designed PCFLA logo. 

Lively Discussion re Car Parking 

One of the most heated discussions came at the end of the meeting during a lively questions and answers session when the vexed question of car parking was raised. 

A wide variety of opinion was aired.  Some members emphasised the difficulty older members in particular had in transporting their fishing gear to the banks while others thought parking vehicles in the conservation area was unsightly and damaged the grassed area. 

It was agreed to maintain the status quo at present and review parking arrangements once Norfolk Homes had carried further restoration work requiring vehicular and plant access.