AT long last, angling is all set to net its own multi-purpose National Angling Centre. Full planning permission has been granted and six lakes (providing a total of 200-pegs) are currently being stocked with carp, roach, rudd and tench in readiness for the grand opening late in 2005.

The exciting new complex is at Whitmore, near Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, and it will be managed jointly by Whitmore Leisure and the National Federation of Anglers (NFA). All three disciplines, coarse, game and sea, will be catered for, as indeed will be all sectors of the community. In addition the complex is being designed to provide an opportunity for holding exhibitions, events and corporate activities. Accommodation has been secured at the nearby Keele University where 3,000 bed spaces can be made available at various times throughout the year.

Initially, a group of four people will be moving the initiative forward; from Whitmore Leisure, directors Cyril Brewster and Edward Cavanagh-Mainwaring, and from the NFA, Vice-President David Kent and National Angling Development Officer, Glyn Williams.

Cyril Brewster commented: “This is an exciting day for us. A National Angling Centre is well overdue and this site, practically in the centre of the country, will be the ideal opportunity for the sport to move forward.” David Kent was equally upbeat: “We have waited a long time for this day. Coaching is now a fundamental part of our sport and Government and Sport England will approve of this move which gives angling the chance to demonstrate that our coaches are equal in professionalism to any sport. Catching and handling fish properly in a safe environment under expert tuition will appeal to those people who don’t fish but would like to give the sport a try. We are told there are 3.8million people who go fishing; a sport so vast should have its own National Centre and we are delighted to be working alongside Whitmore Leisure who have a reputation of achievement and excellence.”