CLAIMS that anglers are to be banned from Roker Pier have been rubbished by council chiefs after rumours went viral and hundreds of people signed an online petition.
Sunderland City Council have applied for planning permission to resurface the pier as part of a £1.35million revamp.
An online petition was then set up wrongly claiming the work was a cover-up in order to install pipes to carry cables for a CCTV system, which would enforce a subsequent ban on fishing.
The ‘Keep Roker Pier Open For Fishermen!’ petition at www.change.org clocked up 431 signatures from across the UK and as far afield as Dubai, Korea, Japan and Spain.
But council bosses stepped in to clarify the situation to the Echo.
And after explaining the situation to the petition’s creator, it closed to further signatures.
Councillor John Kelly, the portfolio holder for public health, wellness and culture, said: “There are no plans to install a CCTV system on Roker Pier or to introduce new byelaws banning fishing other than when the pier is closed.
“The byelaw currently in force makes it an offence to fish in or from the docks without permission, with the exception that fishing can take place without permission from the section of Roker Pier which is open to the public. As such only if the pier is closed to the public, is fishing from it prohibited. Although all the existing port byelaws are being reviewed, the current proposal for the byelaw on fishing remains substantially the same. There are no plans to limit access for any members of the public, including the angling community, outside of periods when the pier is closed.”
Pending planning approval, the pier will be closed temporarily from April to September to carry out repairs in the summer months. After that it will reopen to the public, including anglers.
“What we are proposing to do if we get planning permission is to close Roker Pier from the beginning of April so that below water foundation repairs can be undertaken as well as completely resurfacing the pier deck for the first time in its 111 year history,” Coun Kelly added. “Deferring essential repair works now, could create an extended period of closure in the future should the structure deteriorate any further. This is very much about preserving this much loved iconic landmark for the enjoyment of generations to come, including the angling community.”