Alton Rowing Club of 2012 – HOME



Alton Rowing Club were banned for no valid reason from using the water and facilities at Alton by Alton Watersports Centre (AWSC) on 13th June 2016.  This ban was contrary to the rules of AWSC.  They and Anglian Water, who own the reservoir, have a duty under the Water Industries Act 1991 to provide recreational facilities to as wide a group of people as possible in the best manner.  They have both failed to do this and in our view have now contravened the WIA 1991, in other words, it is our belief they have broken the law.

Despite insisting on a new contract, which we provided them with and which was approved by British Rowing, AWSC have refused to allow ARC back on the water.

The Executive Committee of ARC are resolute in fighting this ban.  We are particularly upset that it has prevented;

  • Three schools from rowing. (A fourth was going to start in Sept 16)
  • Ex-Servicemen and Women from using our facilities, free of charge, to help them overcome PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and the rehabilitation of disabled Ex-Servicemen and women with physical injuries
  • Girls excluded from mainstream education from learning to row and giving them some direction in their lives
  • Visually impaired young people in Suffolk from accessing a sport which they could undertake very easily
  • Our ordinary club members and new participants from taking up the sport at a time when it is really taking off in the country

If you support rowing, please write a letter asking the Head of the Inland Waterways team to urge the Secretary of State to make an order compelling Anglian Water (in particular) and other Water Undertakers to allow access to those clubs who want it as is required by the Water Industries Act 1991 and Code of Practice on Conservation, Access and Recreation as access in not being provided “in the best manner” as required by the Act .  Please write now to;

Ms Emma Reed
Inland Waterways Team


Please ensure that we are sent a copy to


The Following Comments have been submitted by Members and Friends of Alton Rowing Club;

One of my best rowing memories is rowing in a gig on Alton a few years back in an event organised by Alton Rowing. The current situation is outrageous. Sailing is a dying sport, rowing is growing! I’ve met this kind of prejudice many times with many reservoirs only being open to the sailing clubs. Best wishes ARC.  PJ, Southend

Unfortunate to hear about this, as my University rowing team was hoping to use these facilities for our training camp as the facilities and area would be perfect for us.  OR, London

As possibly one of the oldest members of Alton Water and my husband was involved at the beginning .unfortunately he has died ,we were always under the impression that rowing would b e one of the sports that would be at Alton Water . Although I’m a sailor I feel it’s unfair that rowing has been pushed out .  AE, Alton Water

AWSC and Anglian Water do not understand the concept of The Military Covenant. I doubt whether they have the moral backbone to go out to Afghanistan, Iraq or any of the places that I have been shot at. They are just spineless cowards. This is another example of servicemen and women being treated like rubbish by ungrateful, ignorant civvies.

ML, Wattisham

Rowing is a fantastic sport for children, and one the UK excels at internationally. All local facilities have waiting lists of over 2 years e.g. Woodbridge and the area vitally needs this resource. Not only does rowing promote fitness and teamwork, it also encourages a love of water and respect for nature. PLEASE, I beg you, bring back rowing to our community.  EE, Holbrook

I know a disabled serviceman who was helped by Alton Rowing Club.  It changed his life for the better, gave him a reason to get up in the morning after having suicidal episodes.  What these people have done is disgusting?  Anglian Water should be ashamed of themselves for allowing these people to have so much say.  MG, Colchester

I wonder if sails were fitted to the rowing boats??? might be allowed back on?? Very bizarre ban as AWSC rent out rowing boats to people who have no training and seen them be rescued several times. RD, Alton RC

The club has an important role in the local community. It brings the community together and inspires people to get active and keep active for the good of their own health. TK, Ipswich

It would be a great shame if Alton Rowing Club were unable to use the facilities at Alton Water. They run one of the friendliest head races around and it is an ideal venue for both beginners and experienced competitors. I would be very sad if I couldn’t race there again.  AF, London

This is what I’ve come to expect of the Watersports Centre, most of their staff are rude and unhelpful. They sit in the office and drink tea all day and only come out when they have to. If their managers are anything like them, I’m not surprised there’s been a problem.   JA, Ipswich.

Shame on them.  MS, East Bergholt

Can’t believe that Alton RC is still not back on the water. What are AWSC up to ?
Seems as if they just don’t want rowers on that stretch of water.
Time that Anglian Water got involved.  AG, Alton Rowing Club

They got rid of my former club in the 1980’s so not surprised it’s happened again. Keep up the good work and DON’T give in.  DW, Alton Blades (former club at Alton)

As an ex-serviceman, I’m appalled at what they’ve done. All the good work you were doing with disabled soldiers gone in a flash. I won’t write what I think of these people.

NB, Colchester

Disgraceful. This should never have been allowed to happen. AWSC and Anglian Water have questions to answer.  SB, Westerfield.

If it’s not fishermen, it’s sailors. Why can’t rowers be left alone to get on with our sport which doesn’t cause any problems to anyone else. Why can’t they share the water?

MA, Henley