PLANS FOR AC­TIV­ITY CEN­TRE AND HOMES

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - by Kather­ine Cle­men­tine kather­ine.cle­men­tine@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @uxb_re­porter

HILLING­DON Out­door Ac­tiv­ity Cen­tre (HOAC) could be forced to move to Den­ham in or­der to make way for HS2.

HS2 Ltd, which is re­spon­si­ble for de­liv­er­ing the new high speed rail line through Hilling­don, said: “Sub­ject to plan­ning ap­proval be­ing granted, it should be pos­si­ble to re­lo­cate HOAC, cur­rently in Hare­field, to the Den­ham Quarry site with a 25-acre lake by 2018.”

The com­pany has ap­pointed a ‘ded­i­cated team’ to de­liver the re­lo­ca­tion, which has a pos­si­bil­ity of in­creas­ing the lake up to 45 acres.

HS2 say the plan rep­re­sents a “clear way for­ward” for HOAC, af­ter meet­ings with Den­ham Quarry op­er­a­tor, Sum­mer­leaze, and the plan­ning author­i­ties.

The move comes af­ter leader of Hilling­don Coun­cil Coun­cil­lor Ray Pud­di­foot, out­lined his con­cerns to a Se­lect Com­mit­tee at Par­lia­ment, say­ing the bor­ough coun­cil had not been in­volved in HOAC talks since June.

He said: “Whilst we are en­cour­aged that there may be the pos­si­bil­ity of a 45acre lake at Den­ham by 2020, this may be again rais­ing false hopes.

“We are con­cerned that no plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions have yet been sub­mit­ted and the com­pen­sa­tion costs payable to Sum­mer­leaze for the loss of land­fill in­come may also pre­vent the scheme from go­ing ahead.”

Prin­ci­pal of HOAC, Jeff Creak, said: “I’m hugely dis­ap­pointed we haven’t been lis­tened to, we had a very good case along with the bor­ough of Hilling­don. The route, the whole con­cept was fa­tally flawed.

“The other side of the coin is that when you’re look­ing into the abyss, some­thing’s bet­ter than noth­ing, and you have to make the best of what might be on of­fer.”

HOAC say they are in the very first stages of plan­ning but have to work very quickly as “HS2 want the site” and will con­tinue to op­er­ate.

Mr Creak said: “The lo­gis­tics are all in dis­cus­sion but we’re cer­tainly op­er­at­ing HOAC in full next year, and prob­a­bly a full sea­son the year af­ter and then we’ll be mov­ing to Den­ham.

“By that time HS2 will have built things there, and dug a 25 acre lake and we’ll move there in 2018.

“We’ll still be here and op­er­at­ing as nor­mal next year. We’re tak­ing book­ings as nor­mal now and un­less any­thing un­to­ward hap­pens we’re look­ing at do­ing the same the year af­ter.”

HS2 Ltd say the cen­tre has financial con­cerns about the tran­si­tion and wor­ries Hilling­don Coun­cil may with­draw its £55,000 a year fund­ing.

Mr Creak added: “I have no ex­pec­ta­tion of get­ting fund­ing from Bucks Coun­cil at this stage but it’s their land we’d be based on so we’re talk­ing about plan­ning per­mis­sions and try­ing to make it work.

“They’re be­ing very co­op­er­a­tive as are Hilling­don.”

New lo­ca­tion: Artist’s im­pres­sion aerial view

of Hare­field lakes show­ing HOAC and the Colne Val­ley viaduct. Top right, Jeff Creak, prin­ci­pal of HOAC, with MPs Boris John­son and Nick Hurd; cen­tre right, Jean Timms, Gor­don Cocks and Gra­hame Bux­ton and be­low right, se­lect com­mit­tee of MPs scru­ti­niz­ing HS2 vis­it­ing

Hilling­don

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