DISABLED angling will return to a yob-plagued pond after a two year absence – thanks to a Government grant.
Members of Shotton and District Angling Club are celebrating after securing £8,000 from the Environment Agency.
The money will be spent on improvement works to an approach road and rebuilding the walls on both sides of a ramp for the disabled.
The club has also won a further £3,300 to be spent on replacing a platform for disabled anglers.
Club chairman Steve Maitland said: “I feel fantastic about the funding.
“When we get it all complete, we can have a return of angling for the disabled after two years of the facilities being out of action due to vandalism.
“We had had to stop access for wheelchair users.”
The Mail has previously reported that the pond was a target for vandals and that the disabled platform had been ripped up and set alight last year. The 61-year-old club had been in danger of folding after yobs caused £6,000 of damage to surrounding walls and handrails.
Steve appeared on TV’s Caught Red Handed, with presenter Dom Littlewood, describing how people power had helped to cut down on fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour.
Although Steve says there is still a problem with drug use at the site, the club is on the up. The £8,000 grant came after Paul Frear, a fisheries technical officer for the Environment Agency, met with Steve last year and said he would inquire about funding.
Steve said: “We are going to have the approach road scraped and four lots of drains installed.”
He said anglers had had to take care when driving over the road as it had potholes of nine inches to a foot deep.
He said Durham County Council had put some road planings down previously, but bad weather had caused it to disappear.
The £3,300 funding includes £1,200 from Durham County Councillor for Shotton, Eunice Huntington, £1,600 from County Durham Community Foundation and £500 from East Durham Homes. Previous incidents at the pond include swans, geese and ducks being killed, and nine dead puppies being dumped in two bin bags at the site along with a dead Alsatian.