CONTROVERSY has been sparked by the erection of fencing around a pond at a Flintshire beauty spot.

Connah's Quay Angling Club has fenced off the water's edge path around the popular 'Rosie' pond at Wepre Park - with anglers now only permitted access.

The club says the fencing was erected in late May due to the need to maintain social distancing as per the Welsh Government's Covid-19 guidelines, with the pathway around the pond said to be too narrow to allow for pedestrians and anglers to keep the required two-meters apart.

Connah's Quay Angling Club leases the land around the pond from Flintshire Council, which says it agrees with the club's decision.

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But the move has caused some consternation amongst some members of the local community - so much so that the parts of the fencing and associated signage are said by the club to be torn down and damaged on a "daily basis".

One person took to a local social media community page where they said Wepre Park is "shrinking before our eyes", with sadness expressed that children and other people are no longer able to walk around the water's edge pathway and so not be able to take part in activities such as feeding the ducks.

Others described it as "very sad" and "so wrong".

However, the club says the fencing is purely a temporary measure and that it will be removed if and when social distancing rules in Wales are changed.

Alan White, vice-chair of Connah's Quay Angling Club, said: "It's purely a response to the Covid-19 regulations and need for social distancing - the path is too narrow for anglers and walkers to keep two meters apart.

"But near enough every day the fencing and signs are pulled down - and I and other members of the club have been subjected to a lot of abuse because of it.

"The overwhelming majority of people accept the measures we've put in place to allow for social distancing, but there's a few people who haven't taken kindly to it at all."

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While the current fencing is a temporary measure, the club says it has plans to put permanent fencing around the water's edge path as a safety measure - but that this fencing will have a gate and will be open to the public.

Mr White added: "Because we're planning on working more and more with local mental health and children's groups - we feel a fence around the inner pathway would be a very suitable safeguarding measure.

"However, unlike the current fencing, this fencing would be gated and be fully open to the public - so people have nothing to worry about on that front."

A Flintshire Council spokesman said: "The Rosie fishing pond at Wepre Park is owned by Flintshire County Council but is leased to Connah’s Quay Angling Club for its management.

"The paths that allow access to the water are not two metres wide. The club has therefore, with our agreement, erected temporary fencing to ensure social distancing for those who have paid to fish and the health and safety of all visitors to the park."

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