It has been brought to the Committee’s attention that otter activity has recently been identified on Spinnaker Lake. We take predation very seriously with considerable funds having been invested in otter fencing at Hucklesbrook Lake, Wedgehill Ponds and Holtwood Pools over the past 12 months. However, in the case of Spinnaker, there are several additional issues.
Firstly, this water is leased by the club and anything we wish to do that affects the location would need the consent of the landowner. Other issues (swim re-building, the tree clearance work and parking concerns) are subject to ongoing negotiations and our requests are not always readily embraced. These matters would need to be resolved to ensure our members were able to enjoy the venue to its full potential before additional work was even contemplated.
Obviously, as the water is not owned by the club, we would also need to ensure that any work paid for from club funds would be enjoyed by our members for many, many years to come. Otter fencing a lake of this size would be far from cheap. Any club investment would need to be protected by an agreement whereby the cost is justified via the long-term benefit provided to our members.
Finally, as the water is within an SSSI (and there is no existing fence being replaced) planning permission may be required. This is likely to be challenged by the New Forest District Council. Members may be aware that a neighbouring fishery (formerly known as Snails Lake) erected an otter fence only to be instructed they needed to apply for retrospective planning permission. On doing so the application was refused. Any proposals for new fencing on Spinnaker Lake we would be likely to face similar problems clearing local government red tape.
Hopefully this statement highlights some of the issues surrounding the subject. Although we rarely broadcast the club’s decision making processes we would not want the apparent reluctance to respond to member’s observations with rapid action to be viewed as being dismissive or born of disinterest. Similarly, all options remain possible in the future.